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Picture of the Day

Study sheds new light on antibiotics produced by ants

Ants, like humans, deal with disease. To deal with the bacteria that cause some of these diseases, some ants produce their own antibiotics. A new comparative study identified some ant species that make use of powerful antimicrobial agents, but found that 40 percent of ant species tested didn't appear to produce antibiotics. For this study, researchers tested the antimicrobial properties associated with 20 ant species. The researchers found that 12 of the 20 ant species had some sort of antimicrobial agent on their exoskeletons, but eight of the ant species seemed not to make use of antibiotics at all. The results have implications regarding the search for new antibiotics that can be used in humans.

Visit Website | Image credit: Clint Penick