Researchers from the Deakin University in Geelong decided to start a study that would focus on milk proteins in platypus milk. The platypus is a very strange creature who lays eggs and hatches the younglings outside its body but who still feeds them with milk through a pad located on the abdomen.
The researchers were interested to see how many antimicrobial proteins they could find in platypus milk. However, Janet Newman, a bioscientist based in Melbourne stated that platypus milk has a monotreme protein in its milk that left the team of researchers bewildered.
Platypus milk – its molecular view
As the lead author of this study, Newman was the one who had to describe the molecular structure and what makes it so unique when it comes to fighting bacteria. For the study the team had to grow a crystal from this protein and examine it up close. The structure of the protein let them see the structure’s properties.
Platypus milk – bacteria killer
What researchers did was to expose the protein to bacterias that are known to cause infections and they saw that the monotreme protein killed them before they could do any damage.
You may have wondered by now why platypus babies need to drink this milk with this effective bacteria killer? Well, since they hatch from and egg and have to grow up outside the mother’s body they need all the help they can get in order to fight outside bacteria. Researchers believe that this monotreme protein was an evolutionary improvement strictly targeted to protect the young.
This protein should be looked more into to see if it can be adapted as a new lead in the antibiotics department. The main problem right now is trying to fight superbugs, bugs that have become resistant to normal antibiotics and need to be destroyed in some way without administering almost lethal doses of antibiotics to the patient.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.