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New Antibiotic in Turkeys can Cure Many Infections

Update Date: Nov 27, 2014 07:37 PM EST
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Eating turkey on Thanksgiving could be good for more than one reason.

New research from Brigham Young University (BYU) has shown that good bacterium called strain 115 which can produce a life-saving antibiotic, is found in turkeys. The bacterium was believed to be long lost until recent research showed its presence in the birds. The antibiotic, known as MP1, can be used to target several infections including staph, strep throat, gastrointestinal diseases and other bacterial infections, Discovery News reports.

The bacterium was first isolated at BYU but further research largely resulted in treatment for diseases in turkeys.

"Our research group is certainly thankful for turkeys. The good bacteria we're studying has been keeping turkey farms healthy for years and it has the potential to keep humans healthy as well," ," said BYU microbiologist Joel Griffitts who is part of the research team, in a press release.

The work on strain itself is not novel research. Coincidentally the current team working on strain 115, found it in a freezer where it has been lying for nearly three decades. Noted scientist and BYU professor Marcus Jensen had discovered the strain in turkeys. Subsequent research was unlike what the current research group is doing.

"Sometimes bacteria retire with the people who discover them. We simply rediscovered it and now we are capitalizing on it once again," Griffitts said.

Researchers said the most intriguing part of the bacterium is it does not get killed by the antibiotic it produces. The team found that DNA inside the strain produces an antidote ribosome part, alongside the antibiotic. This ribosome part when inserted into a normal ribosome renders immunity against the antibiotic MP1.

"It's sort of like outfitting a car with special tires that protect against unusual road hazards," Griffitts said.

The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Bacteriology. 

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