Home Back Issues May 2013 OHSU researchers make medicine from mollusks

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

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Tight and Loose

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

As schools implement more rigorous academic standards, holistic and flexible approaches to K-12 education flourish.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits announced

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

100NP14logo4WebOregon Business magazine has named the sixth annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


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