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The most recent and rumored question on the Internet is: Could beards be the source of antibiotics of the future?
This interesting new discovery has a very funny story: it started out as a joke, made by actor Will Forte, who stars in The last man on Earth TV series and who said that men’s beards contain traces of… poop. So, as the microbiologist Adam Roberts, from University College London went digging through men’s beards in search of poop, he found something else – a tantalizing suggestion of a breakthrough in the global fight against drug-resistant infections.
The research began, as very few good things do, with a fake viral story from the Internet. Dr. Adam Roberts said that subsequently they carried out tests on the samples as a part of the research into new antibiotics.
What we do is grid out the individual bacteria on an agar plate which has been pre-inoculated with an indicator strain. And then we see if that indicator strain can grow right up to the individual colonies from the beards or from anywhere else.
Therefore, swab samples were taken from 20 beards and in them at least 100 bacteria growths were detected.
Amazingly, about 25 percent of beard isolates started killing off the indicator strains. They were producing their own antibiotics, Roberts said.
Furthermore, Roberts has been asking public to send swab samples to his laboratory. He has unveiled about receiving different samples from all over the nation, which include from child’s trampolines, to fridges, to cats. According to the doctor, they have now around 50 different bacteria that is able to kill many indicator strains, including E.coli and Candida albicans (yeast infections) and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Although the results are crucial for developing new future antibiotics, it is a long and expensive process. Even if Roberts discovered an entirely new type of antimicrobial tomorrow, it would take at least 10 years and millions of dollars before the drug ended up on the market – this is how the system works.
Still, the discovery made by Dr. Roberts and his fellow researches that men’s beards do not contain evidence of poop, but do host antibiotics is an important step in the process of developing new antibiotics to combat superbugs.
Image Source: www.urbanbeardsman.com.