Scientists find antibiotics on plastic debris in the ocean to fight resistant superbugs

(ORDO NEWS) — Microorganisms living on ocean plastic debris could replace antibiotics to protect people from drug-resistant superbugs. While plastic waste is taking over the world, scientists are trying to find ways to clean up the planet.

In this work, researchers at San Diego National University (USA) isolated five antibiotic-producing bacteria from pieces of ocean plastic and tested them against various pathogens. Biologists have found that these antibiotics are effective against two drug-resistant strains known as superbugs.

Every year, between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans. Microbes use it to live, reproduce, and even create entire ecosystems. Microorganisms that produce antibiotics tend to exist in a competitive natural environment, which is why they produce substances that help fend off competitors for resources and space.

The researchers analyzed high-density and low-density polyethylene waste in water near Scripps Pier in La Jolla, California, USA. It was on it that five bacteria producing antibiotics were found, including strains of Bacillus, Phaeobacter and Vibrio.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and was part of a STEM educational project funded by the National Science Foundation. The results of the initial phase of research were presented at a conference of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, reports The Daily Mail.

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