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Algae contains important active compounds against MRSA and skin cancer

In a algae now, as yet, not well-known bioactive constituents have been identified, which can be used to fight infectious bacteria such as MRSA and for the treatment of skin cancer.

In the current study of the GEOMAR Helmholtz centre for ocean research Kiel have been found in a type of new bioactive ingredients, which could improve the treatment of skin cancer and the protection from infectious bacteria. The results were published in the English scientific journal “Marine Drugs”.

Potential for the development of medicinal products


Marine organisms and their microbial symbionts can be used to cure human diseases. There are already twelve important and life-saving drugs, for example, against cancer, which have been developed from marine organisms and their symbiotic Microbiota. Natural substances from the sea have, according to the researchers, a four times higher potential for the development of drugs, as it is the case with other natural or synthetic Compounds of the case. The high potential for drug development will, however, hindered by the lengthy and costly development process.

New bioactive constituents have been identified

Through the use of the latest analytical approaches in conjunction with Bio – and chem-Informatics, and machine Learning could be new bioactive ingredients of the also in the Baltic sea-based Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) and of the fungus symbionts identified, which could be used against infectious bacteria and skin cancer.

Problems in the isolation of molecules


To find marine active ingredients to be extracted Macro – and microorganisms, the purification and characterization of new and bioactive chemical ingredients which have to be used in the future for the development of therapeutics follows. A major Problem in the research of active substances in the insulation process is already well-known natural molecules using classical bioaktivitäts-guided Isolation. Such a process is extremely complicated and, unfortunately, the potential that many errors creep in, explain the researchers.

How could the Problem be solved?

The research group tried this Problem by automated, computer-based approaches in combination with Bioaktivitäts Screening to solve. During a study on the one-year period, it was found that the inhibits studied brown algae, the growth of the pathogenic bacteria Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA, for many, is a very dangerous hospital infections.

Advantages of the new method

In the investigation of the Algorithms used to summarize the substances on the basis of their mass-spectrometric analysis identified the chemical similarity in complex networks as a molecule families. With the help of machine learning tools, it is possible that well-known, but also new Connections are already identified in the extract chemically. Then it will be said with the help of bioinformatics, the so-called Bioaktivitäts Score of the molecules according to their relative frequency in the groups to predict what the bioactive Compounds can be isolated.

New procedure saves a lot of time

Normally would pass from the extraction and characterization of the bioactive ingredients of the algae, previously used classical methods, three to four years. Through the use of automated tools, targeted discovery of new natural antibiotics can be accelerated but, fortunately, in a few months.

Algae molecules can also protect people

“Bladderwrack is in nature, often under intense Fouling pressure and biofilm formation by millions of micro-organisms in the sea water. Therefore, the use of membrane-bound Compounds, such as those we have identified to be of high ecological importance for the protection of the algae. Such molecules which carry in the natural habitat an important function, often show also activity against human pathogens,“ explains study author Professor Deniz Tasdemir GEOMAR Helmholtz centre for ocean research Kiel, Germany in a press release.

Application potential of bladderwrack in the food industry?

Since bladderwrack is an edible seaweed, make him the above-mentioned activities to the attractive sources for medicinal products and for food supplements or for the protection of food, adds the expert. The research group plans to investigate next, the application potential of bladderwrack in the food industry.

It is already 120 symbiotic fungi from bladderwrack have been isolated

On and in marine algae, there are many fungi that live in symbiosis with their host. This makes them promising candidates in the discovery and development of new medicines. The Team was able to isolate 120-symbiotic fungi from the bladderwrack. It is specifically a fungal genus with the name Pyrenochaetopsis sp. examined more closely, because this is a fungus that kills skin cancer cells from Melanomtyp, but at the same time a low toxicity to normal skin cells. In addition, this fungus has an extremely rich chemical inventory, report the researchers.

Fungus has potential for fighting skin cancer

It is according to the testimony of Professor Tasdemir-only the second chemical study of hitherto completely unexplored fungal genus Pyrenochaetopsis. From bladderwrack isolated and in laboratory cultivated mushrooms are an established source for natural anti-cancer agent. The current research work, several novel natural products (Pyrenosetine A and B) were identified with a high potential for fighting skin cancer.

Many drugs to rely on sources from the sea

“Nature is the source of more than half of all modern medicines we use today. The access to the revolutionary genomics, bioinformatics and machine learning tools allows in an unprecedented way, a new and rapid discoveries of marine active ingredients, as well as more efficient analysis for future drug development with industry partners,“ adds Professor Tasdemir finally. (as)

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