Stick Insect Could Help Produce Better Antibiotics

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Geo Beats
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Researchers from the John Innes Centre, and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England are studying giant lime green stick insects to see what makes them resistant to certain kinds of infection and toxins.

Researchers from the John Innes Centre, or JIC and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England are studying giant lime green stick insects to see what makes them resistant to certain kinds of infection and toxins.
Current antibiotic treatments have become less and less effective because bacteria and microbe infections develop immunity to certain antibiotics.

The antibiotic treatments must be updated frequently to combat the microbes that are resistant, so researchers are hoping that the stick insect’s level of resistance might help them come up with a more effective way to fight infection.

Professor Tony Maxwell, head of biological chemistry at JIC, said: “We have discovered the microbe in the stick insect's gut is resistant to toxins and infections it could never have been exposed to. This indicates that there is a general mechanism at work.”

The stick insects eat mostly eucalyptus leaves, which might be a contributing factor to their natural resistance to infection or toxins.

The same researchers are also studying leaf cutter ants that naturally produce antibiotic bacteria on their bodies.

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