The Philippines imports antibiotics in the same way it imports perfume and chocolates. But given the study on indigenous Actinomycetes by a team of researchers led by Irene Alcantara-Papa of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), University of the Philippines Los Baños, the country may eventually reduceimporting antibiotics.

Actinomycetes are microorganisms that are crucial in the production of metabolites, such as antibiotics, anti-tumor agents, immunosuppressive agents (or anti-rejection drugs often used by liver, kidney or heart transplant patients), and enzymes.

These metabolites can be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, anti-algal, anti-malarial, and with anti-inflammatory activities.

BIOTECH-UPLB has screeneda total of 272 actinomycetes in its collection against some of the medically important organisms, one of which is the Methicilin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA isform of bacterial infection that is difficult to treat because it is resistant to some antibiotics, such as methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, and oxacillin.

Of the 272 studied, 19 actinomycetes inhibited five strains of MRSA while 14 showed activity against the others.

Papa said that this research is essential for the continued search for novel bioactive compounds that could be used as antimicrobials, thus eventually enhancing the Philippine’s self- sufficiency and lessening importation of vital drugs.

The study is funded by the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) which will host the Science and Policy Forum for Sustainable Laguna Lake Management on November 22 to 23 2016 in Days Hotel, Tagaytay. The forum will be a gathering of fishers, farmers, environmental experts in the academic, administrative and legislative sectors. To know more about the services of NRC, visit their website:  (By Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin, S&T Media Service)

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