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Fly Larvae May Become a Natural Antibiotic Against Plant Diseases

The Science Times

by Hannah C.
Aside from insects, farm crops need to be protected from phytopathogens, or parasitic organisms. New research from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology explores a unique antibiotic sourced from fly larvae.

The paper published in the journal Microorganisms describes how biotechnologists discovered proteins within the fat of black soldier fly larvae. The compounds have antimicrobial properties that kill phytopathogens, even antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Phytopathogens can be fungi, a bacterial disease, or a viral disease that can cause damage to entire plantations. For example, the Panama disease is widespread among tropical climates where banana plantations thrive and are caused by a fungal disease in the soil.

Farmers typically use antibiotics to fight harmful diseases that affect crops, but over the years, microbes have evolved by developing resistance. Moreover, antibiotics target both harmful and beneficial microbes to plants.

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Extracting Fly Larvae Compounds

The authors wrote, "the rapid increase of plant diseases caused by bacterial phytopathogens calls for an urgent search for new antibacterials." They analyzed compounds from the larvae of Hermetia illucens as a possible source of a new antibiotic.

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