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Cockroaches “key” to tackling bugs


Despite a reputation for being the ultimate health hazard, cockroaches could in fact be the key to treating many superbugs, according to experts.

Scientists found that the insects have powerful antibiotic properties which can be used to target and kill off more than 90% of E.Coli and MRSA infections.

They identified nine different molecules in the tissue of the insects’ brains and nervous system that are toxic to bacteria, but which do not damage human cells.

Simon Lee, postgraduate researcher at the University of Nottingham, said: “Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.”

His research has focused on the various properties of the antibacterial molecules, which are now being tested on different superbugs. The findings will be presented to the Society for General Microbiology.

There is currently a high demand for alternative sources of new antibiotics, the society said, largely due to lack of financial incentives for the pharmaceutical industry.

Copyright Press Association 2010

University of Nottingham

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