PBS - 05/05/2016
The most promising new antibiotics may, counterintuitively, come from the bacterial domain itself. Though nature’s bacterial library could hold a multitude of undiscovered antibiotic recipes, sifting through its diversity is a daunting task: Most bacteria found in the environment—99%—will not grow on a petri dish in traditional cell culture.
We may soon be able to unlock that library, though, thanks to the work of Kim Lewis, director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University in Boston. Lewis reported last year in the journal Nature that he and his colleagues found a way to culture bacteria from the soil, which have been notoriously difficult to grow in the lab because they rely on signals and molecules from neighboring bacteria to grow.