2008-10-04

Pine beetles could be new source of antibiotics: research

Experts are welcoming a study that suggests the pine beetles devastating large tracts of North American forests could be a treasure trove of new antibiotics.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard Medical School have isolated a new antibiotic compound in the bacterium associated with the southern pine beetle, a close relative of British Columbia's mountain pine beetle.

The finding could yield "intriguing possibilities" in the medical field, said Dezene Huber, Canada Research Chair in forest entomology at the University of Northern B.C.