Unusual sugar from cyanobacteria acts as natural herbicide

phys.org | 2/1/2019 | Staff
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Researchers at the University of Tübingen have discovered a natural substance that could compete with the controversial herbicide glyphosate: a newly discovered sugar molecule synthesized from cyanobacteria that inhibits the growth of various microorganisms and plants but is harmless to humans and animals. The joint study was led by Dr. Klaus Brilisauer, Professor Stephanie Grond (Institute of Organic Chemistry) and Professor Karl Forchhammer (Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine). It was published in the journal Nature Communications on Friday.

Active ingredients for pharmaceutical or agricultural use often originate from natural substances. These substances can consist of complex chemical structures, but can also be relatively simple. The ingenuity of such active ingredients often lies in their simplicity: Antimetabolites interact with vital processes in the cell by mimicking metabolic products. This disrupts the biological process, which can inhibit cell growth or even kill the cell.

Chemists - Microbiologists - University - Tübingen - Antimetabolite

Chemists and microbiologists at the University of Tübingen discovered an unusual antimetabolite with a simple chemical structure: a sugar molecule with the scientific name 7-deoxy-sedoheptulose (7dSh). Unlike ordinary carbohydrates, which usually serve as an energy source for growth, this substance inhibits the growth of plants and microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts. The sugar molecule blocks a key enzyme of the shikimate pathway, a metabolic pathway that occurs only in microorganisms and plants. For this reason, the scientists classify the substance as harmless for humans and animals, and have already demonstrated this in initial...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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