Producing antibiotics just got 2,000pc faster, as well as cheaper

4 May 2016

A team of researchers from the University of Bristol has discovered a new production method for antibiotics that is not only 2,000pc faster, but is cheaper, too.

Pharmaceutical companies continue to churn out millions of antibiotics every month, but if serious scientific claims are true, they’re fast becoming completely useless due to them being consumed too much by both humans and livestock.

The biggest issue, it appears, is that the pharmaceutical companies have significantly lessened, or stopped altogether, research into new forms of antibiotics because they simply don’t make the companies any money.

Yet research has not totally stopped, with some pharma companies furthering research on developing future antibiotics to prevent a situation where a common infection today is a potentially deadly one in just a few years time.

Clitopilus passeckerianus

The pleuromutilin antibiotic is isolated from the mushroom, Clitopilus passeckerianus. Image via Gary Foster

Can produce antibiotics rapidly and cost effectively

One such team, in the University of Bristol, which has partnered with GSK, has revealed that it has found promising results from a synthesised antibiotic candidate called pleuromutilin, which is isolated from the mushroom, Clitopilus passeckerianus.

Publishing its findings in Nature, the team carried out research to identify the genes involved in the antibiotic candidate and discovered that a seven-gene cluster is required to produce it.

With this discovery, the team was then able to take this cluster and reconstruct it within a more industrial fungus called Aspergillus oryzae, which has resulted in an astonishing production increase of the pleromutilin antibiotic strain by as much as 2,106pc.

Speaking of the potential for this discovery, co-author of the research, Prof Gary Foster, said: “With this development, we are now ideally placed to develop novel derivatives and new antibiotics and produce them rapidly and cost effectively – something which is desperately needed globally.”

Antibiotic research image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic