Petri-dish experiments conducted by now-retired Agricultural Research Service (ARS) research leader Bruce C. Campbell, ARS molecular biologist Jong H. Kim, and their co-investigators suggest that pairing conventional antifungal medicines with natural, edible compounds from plants—such as thymol, extracted from the popular herb thyme—can boost the healing effects of some of these drugs. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.
Campbell and Kim's work at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., with species of Aspergillus mold, for example, has attracted the attention of medical and public health researchers. Found worldwide in air and soil, Aspergillus can infect corn, cotton, pistachios, almonds and other crops, and can produce aflatoxin, a natural carcinogen.
Aflatoxin-contaminated crops must be identified and removed from the processing stream, at times resulting in large economic losses. Since 2004, Campbell, Kim, and colleagues have carefully built a portfolio of potent, plant-based compounds that kill a target Aspergillus species, A. flavus, or thwart its ability to produce aflatoxin.
Further research and testing might enable tomorrow's growers to team the best of these natural compounds with agricultural fungicides that today are uneconomical to use, according to Kim.
A. flavus and two of its relatives, A. fumigatus and A. terreus, may impact the health of immunocompromised individuals exposed to the fungus in moldy homes. In a 2010 article in Fungal Biology, the team reported that thymol, when used in laboratory tests with two systemic antifungal medications, inhibited growth of these fungi at much lower-than-normal doses of the drugs.
A related study provided new evidence to support earlier findings, at Albany and elsewhere, which had suggested that plant compounds such as thymol may sabotage a target fungi's ability to recover from oxidative stress triggered by antifungal drugs. A 2011 article published by Kim, Campbell and others in Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials documents this research.
Using plant-derived compounds to treat fungal infections is not a new idea, nor is that of pairing the compounds with antifungal medicines. But the Albany team's studies have explored some apparently unique pairs, and have provided some of the newest, most detailed information about the mechanisms likely responsible for the impact of powerful combinations of drugs and natural plant compounds.
Read more about this research in the October 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Marcia Wood | EurekAlert!
Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Trade Fair News
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.09.2017 | Life Sciences