Platypus milk: How it could combat superbugs

BBC News | 3/15/2018 | Staff
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Platypus milk could help combat one of humanity's looming problems, antibiotic resistance, scientists say.

The weird creatures have a duck's beak, venomous feet and are one of only two mammals able to lay eggs.

Scientists - Animal - Milk - Protein - Superbugs

Australian scientists discovered in 2010 that the semi-aquatic animal's milk contains a potent protein able to fight superbugs.

They've now identified why, and say it could lead to the creation of a new type of antibiotic.

Platypus - Group - Mammals - Eggs - Milk

Platypus are monotremes - a tiny group of mammals able to both lay eggs and produce milk.

They don't have teats, instead they concentrate milk to their stomach and feed their young by sweating it out.

Feeding - System - Properties - Scientists

This feeding system is thought to be linked to its antibacterial properties, according to the scientists.

"Platypus are such weird animals that it would make sense for them to have weird biochemistry," Dr Janet Newman, from Australia's national science agency CSIRO, said.

Mammals - Teats - Nipples - Way - Milk

It's believed mammals evolved teats or nipples because it was a sterile way to deliver milk to their young.

But platypus milk being exposed to the outside leaves their babies in danger of being in contact with harmful bacteria.

Milk - Contains - Animal - Defence - Deakin

The unique antibacterial protein their milk contains might be the animal's defence against that, Deakin University's Dr Julie Sharp believes.

Why is it so difficult to disover new antibiotics?

"We were interested...
(Excerpt) Read more at: BBC News
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