Microbiology Today November issue: Natural Products and Drug Discovery

06 November 2019

Natural Products and Drug Discovery are the topics explored in the November edition of Microbiology Today. Various potential sources of novel drugs are discussed, with the featured articles examining the promise of foods such as honey and garlic, as well as bacterial products. The repurposing of existing drugs is another topic covered in the featured articles, as well as the process of drug development from an industry perspective in the Comment piece.

Lorena T. Fernández-Martínez introduces the issue with her article on actinomycetes. She takes us through the background of actinomycetes and antibiotics, explaining that in fact this group of organisms is responsible for production of most antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine. The diversity of this group of organisms is highlighted in the context of the number of potential novel compounds to be explored.

Next, Heather Graz shifts the focus from a natural producer to a natural product, looking at the pharmaceutical properties of garlic. As well as looking at the various potential uses of garlic for medicinal purposes, Graz provides an overview of the drug development process, highlighting the benefits and challenges of using garlic, and other natural products, for medicinal purposes.

Aled Roberts’ article stays on the topic of the potential of food products in drug discovery, exploring the antimicrobial activity of compounds found in manuka honey. Aled explains the properties of this product makes it a good candidate as a broad-spectrum, initial treatment, before looking at the challenges and future prospects of regular use in a clinical setting.

The fourth featured article is written by Alex Mullins and Eshwar Mahenthiralingam and looks at Burkholderia, bacteria with a range of uses, despite their ability to cause infection in humans, animals and plants. The authors highlight the range of specialised metabolites which make these bacteria naturally able to kill other micro-organisms, and the advantage of their large genome, which can be modified to reduce pathogenicity and enhance their production of antimicrobial compounds.

In the last featured article, Thomas Vorup-Jensen, Stig Hill Christiansen and J. Eskild Petersen look at antimicrobials and how existing drugs can be repurposed. In particular, the authors focus on cystic fibrosis patients and the potential that a drug originally developed for treatment of multiple sclerosis has in treating antibiotic-resistant infections.

The Comment article in this issue is written by Michael Bagnall and provides an overview of the drug development process from an industry perspective. Michael takes us through the process, from discovery to development, manufacturing and distribution, explaining some of the restrictions and pressures that need to be overcome at each stage to successfully bring a drug to market.

This issue also contains updates about our upcoming events, the Early Career Microbiologists Forum and members, a look back at the 50 years of collaborations with MiSAC, a look at some of the work supported by our Education and Outreach grants and more.

View the latest issue online.