Health

Is Muskrat Poop the Next Penicillin?

DiscoblogBy Nina BaiNov 13, 2008 12:19 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Considering the rate at which we’re going through traditional antibiotics, one day doctors may have to turn to muskrat poop to treat infections.That’s right, the feces of muskrats, a common squirrel-sized swamp-dwelling rodent, contains a chemical that kills Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus

(that causes staph infections), and other bacteria, according to South Korean researchers.The research team has filed a patent for a method of preparing the antibiotic, which involves using organic solvents to extract the chemical from dried muskrat excrement.

But, as they say in infomercials, that’s not all!The researchers claim that the same chemical also kills plant pathogens and termites.They envision a whole line of muskrat poop products, including antibiotics, fertilizers, and pesticides.Muskrat poop would be a fitting addition to next-generation antibiotics that already include alligator blood and frog skin.

In the patent, the researchers do not reveal the identity of the chemical, nor whether it would be toxic to humans.However, we do know that muskrat meat is safe to eat.Just ask the Archdiocese of Detroit, which has a special dispensation that allows Catholics to eat muskrat meat on Fridays, since the mammal lives mostly in water, like fish.One diner says muskrat tastes like duck.

Related Content: DISCOVER: 5 Next-Gen Antibiotics That Could Save Your Life DISCOVER: Infectious Diseases Discoblog: Bacteria Survive on All-Antibiotic Diet

Image: flickr / dcnature

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.