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Professor Kim Ki-Hyun Finds High Potential Natural Materials in Termites

Following joint research with the Harvard Medical School, Professor Kim Ki-Hyun of the School of Pharmacy at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) has found two new natural materials that have the possibility of having an antibacterial effect.

SKKU’s research team, led by Professor Kim, isolated the symbiotic microorganism, Amycolatopsis sp.M39, from Macrotermes natalensis termites that live in South Africa and that also have a unique life cycle. Macrotermycin A and C of the new compound showed outstanding anti-fungal activity compared to various human pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus. The team also clarified that the materials are essential for the life of termites’ that grow fungus.

Symbiosis bacteria derived from insects and their secondary metabolites discovered by the team are sources of a new compound. It means that they can offer a potential candidate substance which can lead to the development of new pharmaceuticals. Moreover, since they produce significant metabolites through the long evolutionary process combined with the insects’ unique life cycle, they not only have the potential to help effective separation of new natural materials but also have the potential to be applied to pharmacological vitality.

skku.edu/Static Mimic of the Research Result

“I hope that the field of natural substance resources that helps finding new lead compounds can be broadened to bacteria derived from insects through our research,” Professor Kim said.

The research result was presented in the March issue of Organic Letters that reports significant research concerning organic chemistry published by the American Chemical Society.

김수진  sujintwelve@naver.com

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