Scientists Have Named A Killing Compound After Keanu Reeves Because Of How Deadly It Is

A natural product made by bacteria in the genus Pseudomonas has been found to have antimicrobial properties, researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (Leibniz-HKI) have discovered.

The substance, named keanumycins, has been shown in a new study to be effective against both plant fungal diseases and human-pathogenic fungi.

The rise in antimicrobial resistance means there is an urgent need to find new ways to combat microbial pathogens. We often hear about antibiotic resistance, but fungal infections are also an increasing threat to human health – and not only for their zombification potential. Beyond that, fungal pathogens are a major cause of crop losses across hundreds of plant species.

The newly discovered natural product group of keanumycins in bacteria works effectively against the plant pest Botrytis cinerea, which triggers gray mold rot and causes immense harvest losses every year.

But the active ingredient also inhibits fungi that are dangerous to humans, such as Candida albicans. According to previous studies, it is harmless to plant and human cells.

The molecules “kill so efficiently that we named them after Keanu Reeves,” German researcher Sebastian Götze, lead author of the study, said in a press release, “because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles.”

“We have a crisis in anti-infectives,” explains Sebastian Götze, first author of the study and postdoc at Leibniz-HKI. “Many human-pathogenic fungi are now resistant to antimycotics—partly because they are used in large quantities in agricultural fields.”

“We have been working with pseudomonads for some time and know that many of these bacterial species are very toxic to amoebae, which feed on bacteria,” says study leader Pierre Stallforth. He is the head of the department of Paleobiotechnology at Leibniz-HKI.

Keanumycins could therefore be an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides, but they could also offer an alternative in the fight against resistant fungi and instead of plants, Keanumycin could therefore possibly also be used in humans.

According to the tests conducted so far, the natural product is not highly toxic for human cells and is already effective against fungi in very low concentrations. This makes it a good candidate for the pharmaceutical development of new antimycotics.

These are also urgently needed, as there are very few drugs against fungal infections on the market.

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