Manyallaluk, Australia—Ever since penicillin was derived from mold in the early part of the 20th century, researchers have scoured the earth in search of microorganisms that produce new and different antibiotics that may prove useful in fighting human infections. Microbes that live in the soil have been the most abundant source of these agents. But a recent finding suggests that when looking for new antibiotic-producing microbes, scientists might do well to brush the dirt from under their microscopes and replace it with woody plants.
Friedrich MJ. Snakevine Leads Scientists on Sinuous Drug Trail. JAMA. 2002;288(24):3095-3096. doi:10.1001/jama.288.24.3095