DOST-NRCP scientists discover antibiotics from marine sediments

Effective against infections

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WHILE the world’s and the Philippine experts are in the midst of discovering the cure and eventually producing the vaccine to stem Covid-19, researchers from the National Research Council of the Philippines of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST- NRCP) have discovered antibiotics from marine sediments that could cure infections.

At the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City, two DOST-NRCP Researchers—Dr. Doralyn S. Dalisay and Dr. Jonel P. Saludes— have discovered antibiotics from a bacteria thriving in marine sediments in the Philippines.

The antibiotics are effective in killing the multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogen or germ that causes a range of illnesses from minor skin infections to life-threatening diseases, by breaking the protective membrane of the cell.

“Findings from basic research lay the groundwork to establish validated data and information needed to prepare the country should there be an epidemic or a pandemic,” according to Dalisay, the lead author of the paper.

While antibiotics are not directly effective against viral diseases, such as the coronavirus, antibiotics cure infections, such as those which develop in currently Covid-19-infected people, Maria Ellena A. Talingdan, chief research specialist at DOST- NRCP’s Research Information and Dissemination Division, told the BusinessMirror in a telephone interview.

Dalisay said the findings of the research provide evidence that these antibiotics potentially serve as leads to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

The research work was reviewed by antibiotic experts from Italy and Russia and was published on April 24 in high impact international journal, Frontiers in Micro- biology under the research topic “Marine Microbial-Derived Molecules and Their Potential Medical and Cosmetic Applications.”

Frontiers in Microbiology, one of the most cited microbiology journals, has an Impact Factor of 4.259 and publishes rigorously peer-reviewed manuscripts across the entire spectrum of microbiology.

In their paper published in Frontiers in Microbiology, the Filipino scientists said the rise in antibiotic resistance and the drying up of the pipeline for the development of new antibiotics demand an urgent search for new antibiotic leads.

“While the majority of clinically available antibiotics were discovered from terrestrial Streptomyces, related species from marine sediments as a source of antibiotics remain underexplored,” they said.

“We utilized culture-dependent isolation of 35 marine sediment-derived actinobacterial isolates followed by a screening of their antibacterial activity against multidrug-resistant S. aureus ATCC BAA-44,” they explained.

“Our results revealed that the crude extract of Streptomyces griseorubens strain DSD069 isolated from marine sediments collected in Romblon, Philippines, displays the highest antibacterial activity, with 96.4 percent growth inhibition.”

The research was made possible through a grant-in-aid pro- gram awarded to University of San Agustin by the DOST-NRCP. The funding enabled the university to develop ground-breaking drug discovery research competencies in Western Visayas in particular, and the Philippines in general.

Dalisay is a member of Division IV (Pharmaceutical Sciences) and currently the chairman of NRCP Visayas Chapter and the Director of the University of San Agustin Center for Chemical Biology and Biotechnology.

Saludes is also an NRCP member of Division 10 (Chemical Sciences) and the Associate Vice President for Research and Global Relations also at the University of San Agustin. They are both DOST Balik Scientists. Maria Elena A. Talingdan/S&T Media Service

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