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Hungry bacteria could help research into antibiotics resistance

New Danish research shows that bacteria develop toxins with the same function as antibiotics in the battle for sustenance. The knowledge could prove useful in combating antibiotics resistance.

Researchers from University of Copenhagen have discovered that bacteria produce antibiotics, which inhibit the growth of other bacteria or even kill them. It was previously believed that bacteria produced the so-called bacteriocines in order to reproduce, but now it turns out bacteria use the toxins as weapons in the battle for food.

“It is quite clever, if you think about it. When a population grows, a lack of sustenance soon arises. By producing toxins the bacteria limit the number of rivals, and at the same time the killed bacteria are broken down into nutrients for the survivors,” associate professor of Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Jørgen Leisner, explains in a press release from University of Copenhagen.

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