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One more step towards cultivating bacteria in the lab

Taking a major step to grow previously uncultivable bacteria in the lab, scientists at Northeastern University have come closer to developing a new generation of highly effective antibiotics.

The researchers examined bacterial communities enveloping particles of sand and identified chemicals - called siderophores - produced by cultivable bacteria that act as growth factors for distantly related strains of uncultivable bacteria.

When the two types of bacteria were placed in close proximity in a Petri dish, the uncultivable bacterium grew.

The finding, "opens a new chapter in the century-old quest to access a major source of biodiversity on the planet," said Professor of Biology Kim Lewis, who led the research.

The discovery represents the first identified mechanism governing the growth of uncultured bacteria in the lab, said Lewis.
 
 

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