A study carried out by the researchers at Aarhus University has revealed that ants inhibit infections that may otherwise lead to at least 14 different diseases in plants. The small insects act as an outstanding source of antimicrobial substance; secreting antibiotics from the glands and the host bacterial colonies dwelling on the ants’ legs and bodies also secrete different antibiotics. The researchers are considering those antimicrobial substances as inhibitors for several plant diseases and hoping to discover biological pesticides that may tackle with and eradicate plant disease-causing resistant microorganisms.
The previous study has exhibited that the occurrence of scab and rot diseases was reduced significantly in apple plantation when wood ants dwelled on the plants. That study impelled scientists to go through the preceding literature, through which they have now identified scientific evidence that ants can prevent the occurrence of at least 14 different plant diseases.
The researchers are anticipating that the antibiotics-secreting wood ants can be used in the agriculture sector in times to come.
Unrelated research revealed that antibiotics present on African ants could destroy MSRA-like resistant bacteria.
On a similar note, a new antibiotic in the form of an anonymous compound, phazolicin, has been discovered within a Mexican rainforest by the Rutgers University researchers.
The researchers claim that the recently found antibiotic is effective against a wide spectrum of bacteria and may have applications in different sectors, such as in agriculture. It could shield the cultivated plants—specifically peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts, and other legumes—against some disease-causing bacterial strains.
The antibiotic follows a different mode of action to inhibit the infection. It penetrates through the bacterial cell wall, binds to the protein-synthesizing organelles, known as ribosomes, and interferes with the functioning. The antibiotic urges ribosomes to continuously build and accumulate the diversity of linear azoline-containing peptides (LAPs). The comprehensive information regarding phazolicin is available in the journal Nature Communications.