Scientists writing in the journal Angewandte Chemie say they have discovered a new chemical compound from an ocean microbe that could open up new treatments for anthrax and other ailments.
The team collected a microorganism that produced the compound close to shore off Santa Barbara, California. Initial testing of the compound, named anthracimycin, revealed its potency as a killer of anthrax, which is an infectious disease feared as a biological weapon.
“The real importance of this work is the fact that anthracimycin has a new and unique chemical structure,” said William Fenical at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “The discovery of truly new antibiotic compounds is quite rare. This discovery adds to many previous discoveries that show that marine bacteria are genetically and chemically unique.”