Cockroaches contain powerful antibiotic molecules in their brains.
Cockroaches and locusts contain powerful antibiotic molecules in their brains that could be used to develop new treatments against MRSA and E-coli, scientists have discovered. Scientists at Nottingham University found that the insects, which are widely reviled for their dirty image, could actually be more of a health benefit than a health risk.
They have identified up to nine different molecules in the tissues of cockroaches and locusts that are toxic to bacteria and they hope will pave the way for new treatments for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections.
The tissues of the brain and nervous system of the insects were able to kill more than 90% of MRSA and E.coli bacteria, without harming human cells.
Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher who is presenting his work at the Society for General Microbiology’s autumn meeting in Nottingham, said: “We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and MRSA infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs.
“Also, these new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects,” he said.