Frogs are often overlooked, but they can be valuable for many reasons. Our scientists are fighting a battle with antibiotic-resistant infections that threaten millions of people worldwide, but frogs may save us (if they don't go extinct!) Scientists have learned that frog skin contains natural substances that could be the basis for a powerful new genre of antibiotics.
The emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, which have the ability to shrug off conventional antibiotics, is a growing problem worldwide. A group of researchers have asked their colleagues who study amphibians worldwide to ship secretions from hundreds of promising frog skins to their. Using that amphibious treasure trove, they have identified more than 100 antibiotic substances in the skins of different frog species from around the world. One even fights "Iraqibacter," the bacterium responsible for drug-resistant infections in wounded soldiers returning from Iraq.
Researcher Michael Conlon says, "Frog skin is an excellent potential source of such antibiotic agents. They've been around 300 million years, so they've had plenty of time to learn how to defend themselves against disease-causing microbes in the environment. Their own environment includes polluted waterways where strong defenses against pathogens are a must."
Frogs even dose THEMSELVES with antibiotics: They normally eat insects but when they shed their skin, which they do on a regular basis, they eat it. And toads have a great method of birth control: When grabbed by a male they don't want to have sex with, female cane toads inflate their bodies so he can't hold on. In LiveScience.com, Adam Hadhazy quotes researcher Bas Bruning as saying, "Our study shows that females can exert mate choice by inflating their bodies."
Our regular readers and listeners have come to appreciate the opportunity of dosing themselves with the wonderful radio shows you can only find on this website. But what if you want to take them with you? Regular listeners only have access to a month of shows, but subscribers can listen (and re-listen) for an entire year, as well as download shows to an MP3 disc so you can listen in your car and in other places away from your computer. You get all this for less than $4 per month, as well as get 10% off everything in our store as well as special subscriber interviews every week just for you, if you subscribe today.
To learn more, click here and here.
Art credit: Dreamstime.com
NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.