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Scientists use crab shells to produce pharmaceuticals

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Scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have introduced bacterial genes into a fungus so it can produce chemicals useful to the pharmaceutical industry.

The fungus in question is Trichoderma and it uses chitin, a raw material which makes up the shells of crustaceans, including crabs, that is generally abundant in nature.

Viral infections are usually treated with antiviral drugs, which are often made from N-Acetylneuraminic acid (NANA), a substance fifty times more valuable than gold sold for around EUR 2,000 per g. NANA can be obtained from natural sources or synthesized.

Click "source" for entire article.

Microbial Cell Factories - "Synthesis of an antiviral drug precursor from chitin using a saprophyte as a whole-cell catalyst" (http://www.microbialcellfactories.com/content/10/1/102)
 
 

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