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Searching for new forms of antibiotics in Antarctica

Fabrice Bertile, a researcher at the IMS, begins a six-month mission to the Crozet Islands in Antarctica as part of the Antarbiotic project. The goal is to discover new forms of antibiotics by studying the adaptation of organisms in extreme conditions.

The King Penguin: a potential source for the discovery of antibiotics

The King Penguin has more than one trick up its stomach: when the female goes fishing, the male holds the egg and must feed its chick with food stored in its stomach at a temperature of 38°C. How can these foods remain stored for so long without bacterial proliferation? This is due to the presence of an antimicrobial molecule called pheniscine, which is very effective against many microbial strains associated with known human infections.

Credits : Dominique Filippi

Developing new antibiotics

The Antarbiotic project, funded by the IMS, aims to develop a new generation of antibiotics by identifying the involved molecules and testing them on different bacterial strains to understand their mechanism of action.

No invasive method

As it is very complicated to collect samples directly from the King Penguin without using an invasive method, researchers have to wait for the action of a predator to collect samples from a dead penguin.

Sample analysis in Strasbourg

Once the samples have been collected, they will be analyzed at the mass spectrometer at IPHC to identify the maximum number of molecules, then transmitted to Philippe Bulet to fractionate and identify the active molecules on bacteria.

Promising prospects for ocular medicine

Fabrice Bertile’s work is promising because it is already known that this peptide can be used in the field of ocular medicine. Researchers hope to determine the complete structure of pheniscine through this new work and discover new molecules to develop new antibiotics.

Article partly taken from the Unistra website.