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PH Researchers Find Ocean Sediments Can Kill Disease-Causing Superbugs

Superbugs: A cause for serious concern.


Aggressive and antibiotic resistant bacteria or superbugs have emerged in recent decades due to misuse of antibiotics. This has caused concern among all medical practitioners worldwide.

These superbugs have been found even in hospitals such as the “Super Streptoccocus.” Management of such infections are being studied in the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, US and the Pasteur Institute in France.

In the Philippines scientists nd researchers from the University of San Agustin, Iloilo City have discovered microorganisms from sediments in the ocean floor that can kill these superbugs. 

Doralyn Dalisay, a researcher of the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) and a research scientist of the University of San Agustin led the team that made the discovery. The team put up a “microbial library” for cultivation of the marine sediment-derived organisms and also an “extract library” of these isolated microorganisms for antimicrobial testing.

Inhibitory activities were discovered in tests against pathogenic drug-resistant bacteria and fungi.

“The findings are quite promising and if more microorganisms like these will be discovered and tested, this (endeavor) will place the Philippines in the global frontiers of medical and therapeutic research,” Dalisay said. 

Funding came from NRCP for the team from the university.

“The highly biodiverse marine microorganisms thriving in the sediments surrounding the Philippine archipelago have not been investigated well with regard to their potential for developing products that are of interest in biotechnology and pharmaceutical sciences,” Dalisay disclosed.

The research was undertaken in 2 phases that focused on isolating marine sediment-derived microorganisms, and determining their antimicrobial activities and bio-geographical distribution in the Philippine archipelago.  

The third phase is for the evaluation of anti-cancer activities or properties. This will involve research on biodiversity, genomic analysis so as to try to establish relationships between metabolite biosynthesis potential, taxonomy, and the habitats and locations from which the isolates originate. 

NRCP is the country’s premier agency for supporting and nurturing basic research which aims to address the most pressing needs of the country and to give Filipinos better health and life through medical research.





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