Biological Agent Could Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Cystic fibrosis bacteria Burkholderia exacerbates CF symptoms

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A new class of antibiotics has been discovered from the family of bacteria called Burkolderia, a bug that usually causes disease in patients with cystic fibrosis

According to research teams from Cardiff and Warwick University, Burkholderia has been able to produce compounds that are effective in battling against MRSA, an antibiotic resistant bacteria that is a major public health problem

"Burkholderia bacteria produce enacyloxins, a novel antibiotic structure."

Dr. Eshwar Mahenthiralingam of Cardiff University's School of Biosciences commented that Burkholderia are soil bacteria which are the source of most of our current antibiotics. The current research therefore offers great hope of a completely new source for the identification and engineering of highly potent and urgently needed antibiotics. 

By the summer of 2007, Dr. Mahenthiralingam's large collection of Burkholderia bacteria were being screened to identify which ones produced antibiotics active against other bacteria, especially drugs which could kill other bacteria that infect cystic fibrosis patients..

The team discovered that around 25 percent of Burkholderia bacteria have very strong antibiotic activity on multidrug-resistant diseases such as MRSA.

One particular strain, Burkholderia ambifaria, produces two very effective antibiotics active on resistant bacteria.

These antibiotics are in a natural product drug group called polyketides, which is considered the most successful family of natural product drugs. Other examples of polyketides include erythromycin and doxorubin.

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Review Date: 
May 29, 2011
Last Updated:
June 1, 2011