OHSU researchers make medicine from mollusks

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013

BY LINDA BAKER

0513 NextDespite their name, shipworms are not worms but mollusks: small, clam-like creatures that cause no end of headaches for boat owners by drilling their hard shells into ship hulls, then consuming that cellulose as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now a team of OHSU researchers, in partnership with scientists from other institutions, has discovered an upside to the hungry worm. To convert wood into nutrient-rich fuel, the shipworm relies on symbiotic bacteria that secrete a powerful antibiotic — one that holds promise for battling human disease, says Margo Haygood, an OHSU marine microbiologist. In humans, antibiotic resistance has become a serious health threat. Not so for the lowly shipworm, which never develops resistance to the organisms involved in the cellulose-conversion process. The mollusk doesn’t appear to suffer from side effects, either, Haygood says. Part of a larger biodiversity initiative underway in the Philippines, the mollusk research may also yield new applications for biofuels production, which typically involves the breakdown of woody matter for the creation of ecologically friendly energy sources. Tapping the treasure trove of marine life for new medications and natural energy sources is a no-brainer, observes Haygood. “Guess what,” she says, “life evolved in the ocean.”

 

More Articles

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Can small be large?

Linda Baker
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
040115-lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Leaders in Oregon's ag sector gathered this morning in Portland’s Coopers Hall winery/taproom to discuss the role of the region as an export gateway, impediments to exporting products and solutions to containerized shipping challenges.


Read more...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

European Vacation

Guest Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

There are winners and losers with a strengthening U.S. dollar.


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS