Alligator Blood May Lead to Powerful New Antibiotics

The last thing you want to do is expose a wound, even a small skin abrasion, to an environment crawling with microbes. Then consider the alligator, which leads a rather violent life and lives in swamps. But alligators don't succumb to infection they way you'd think -they have a natural immunity in their blood. 

Chemists in Louisiana found that blood from the American alligator can successfully destroy 23 strains of bacteria, including strains known to be resistant to antibiotics.

In addition, the blood was able to deplete and destroy a significant amount of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Study co-author Lancia Darville at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge believes that peptides—fragments of proteins—within alligator blood help the animals stave off fatal infections.

Such peptides are also found in the skin of frogs and toads, as well as in Komodo dragons and crocodiles. The scientists think that these peptides could one day lead to medicines that would provide humans with the same antibiotic protection.

So far, one drawback has been identified: the peptides themselves are dangerous to humans in high doses. Read about the research into 'gator blood at Nat Geo News. Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!

(Image credit: Melissa Farlow )

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As happy as I am with the discoveries that have been reported in Nat Geo, regarding medicines based on venom and alligator blood, I'm a little worried for the future of those species. Humans are the ultimate predators on the planet and can go nuts when they smell a buck to be made.
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