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Russian frog rich source of new antibiotics?

Russian Federation,Science/Tech,Environment/Wildlife, Thu, 13 Dec 2012 IANS

Moscow, Dec 13 (IANS) Russian scientists have identified a wealth of new antibiotic substances in the skin of the Russian Brown frog.

A.T. Lebedev, professor of chemistry at the Moscow State M.V. Lomonosov University, and colleagues explain that amphibians secrete antimicrobial substances called peptides through their skin.

These compounds make up the majority of their skin secretions and act as a first line of defence against bacteria and other micro-organisms that thrive in the wet places, where frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians live, the Journal of Proteome Research reported.

A previous study identified on the skin of the Russian Brown frog 21 substances with antibiotic and other potential medical activity.

Lebedev's team set out to find more of these potential medical treasures, according to an university statement.

They used a sensitive lab method to expand the list of such substances on the frogs' skin, identifying 76 additional substances of this kind.

They describe lab tests in which some of the substances performed as well against Salmonella and Staphylococcus bacteria as some prescription antibiotic medicines.

"These peptides could be potentially useful for the prevention of both pathogenic and antibiotic resistant bacterial strains while their action may also explain the traditional experience of rural populations," the scientists concluded.

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