Milk of Tasmanian devil kills several drug-resistant superbugs: Study

Oct 19, 2016 18:39 IST

Scientists have discovered that Tasmanian devil milk contains an arsenal of antimicrobial compounds that can kill some of the most deadly bacterial and fungal infections, including golden staph.

The study was published in Scientific Reports.

Key highlights of the study

As per the research, Tasmanian devils produce six different types of the antimicrobial compounds that hold the power to kill several drug-resistant superbugs.

Scientists were able to successfully synthesise the antimicrobial compounds in the lab to test their effectiveness against a number of drug-resistant bacterial and fungal pathogens.

When tested against 25 different bacterial and six fungal strains, the six varieties of antimicrobial compounds were found to kill golden staph, responsible for food poisoning, pneumonia, and toxic shock syndrome. They were also found to produce Enterococcus, which can cause urinary tract infections and meningitis.

The compounds also killed Candida krusei, a rare yeast species associated with high mortality, and the deadly and hyper-virulent airborne fungus called Cryptococcus gattii.

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About Tasmanian devil

The Tasmanian devil is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae.

They are found in the wild only on the Australian island state of Tasmania.

It became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936.

It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell and ferocity when feeding.

The Tasmanian devil's large head and neck allow it to generate among the strongest bites per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator.

Tasmanian devils are currently under serious threat from Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), a highly infectious parasitic facial cancer that has wiped out more than 70 percent of the species.

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