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Antibiotic Discovery from the Human Microbiome

C.N. Eze


The emergence of drug resistant microorganisms causes a lot of concern particularly in this era marked by a growing array of new microbial infections. A good number of existing antibiotics has been rendered ineffective and as a consequence there is an aggressive search for novel antibiotics with properties that tackle this rapidly growing menace. The human microbiome is a source for the discovery of such antibiotics with rare properties. This paper seeks to review the existing body of knowledge on the human microbiome as a source for antibiotic discovery. The human microbiome is the complete set of genes of all microorganisms that live in or around the body. Because most of these organisms are uncultivable, culture-independent methods such as metagenomics are employed for the functional study of their genomes. Metagenomics, a fast and rapidly growing field of research in Microbiology, is the application of modern genomic techniques to study communities of microorganisms directly in their natural environment, circumventing the need for laboratory cultivation of individual species and it could take any of two approaches: sequence-based or functional approach. With the Metagenomic study of the human microbiome, some antibiotics such as Lactocillin(sequence-based genome mining), Commendamide (functional genome mining), Lugdunin (functional screening) and Humimycins (bioinformatics modeling and chemical synthesis) have been discovered and these antibiotics have been proved useful. Hence, the human microbiome presents an interesting frontier for antibiotics discovery. Although this field of research is still in its infancy, it has prospects of developing with time.

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eISSN: 1119-5096
print ISSN: 1119-5096