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STUDY SAYS: Mt. Mayon’s soil rich in antibacterial, anticancer organisms

By Mavic Conde

Out of thirty bacterial species from the soil of Mt. Mayon that have been isolated for a study, thirteen of them have shown certain antibiotic activities. One of them is confirmed as a new species.

“Researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) have identified” the Streptomyces sp. A1-08 as “the specific bacterial species that has shown potential antibiotic and anti-colorectal cancer activities,” according to a news release from Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

While the Streptomyces species are often produced into important medical products, what made it stood out in this study is how it resists all test microorganisms that can cause human diseases, including the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or simply MRSA, the DOST reported.

The report said that the latter prompted the researchers to take the study further via anti-colorectal cancer test and genomic analysis. The result? It has low potency compared to doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug.

That, according to project leader Kristel Mae Oliveros whom the DOST cited, is expected because the latter is already purified for anticancer drug while the former is still a complex mixture of compounds. Hence, the need for genomic analysis to identify the organism’s complete set of DNA. This will tell which of its properties are responsible for its antibacterial and anticancer activities.

One of the study’s objectives is to identify antimicrobial activities of organisms from unique environment like Mt. Mayon, especially that resistance to these pathogens can post great danger to human health by 2050, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

“We have high hopes of getting new and novel species because this is a less explored environment,” said Oliveros in the news release, adding: this is only the start for a more rigorous research.

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