Despite their unsanitary reputations, cockroaches could help scientists find a way to combat superbugs such as MRSA and E.coli, according to a UK researcher.
Tissues from the insects’ brains and nervous systems killed more than 90% of these infections without causing damage to human cells during tests at the University of Nottingham.
Postgraduate reporter Simon Lee discovered nine molecules in cockroach tissue that are toxic to bacteria and which can be used for their antibiotic properties.
His research studied specific properties of these molecules, which are now undergoing testing to see how effective they are in treating different superbugs.
Mr Lee said: “Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms.”
He presented his research to scientists at the Society for General Microbiology’s (SGM) autumn meeting at the University of Nottingham.
The society has said there is a high demand for alternative sources of antibiotics, as the pharmaceutical industry lacks enough financial incentive to develop new drugs.