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Is The Solution To Antibiotic Resistance In Your Local Park?

In southern Italy, Quave discovered that healers use elmleaf blackberry to treat boils and abscesses. She gathered a few bags of blackberry roots, sliced and dried the samples, vacuum-sealed them in plastic bags and shipped them back to her lab in Atlanta, where her colleagues ground them to a powder in a mill and extracted organic molecules using various solvents. When they added different combinations of blackberry molecules to brothy wells of MRSA — a particularly antibiotic-resistant species of Staphylococcus bacteria — the botanical extracts did not kill the microbes as typical antibiotics do. Rather, they prevented the bacteria from forming slimy, intractable mats called biofilms, which allow them to adhere to living tissues and medical devices like catheters in hospitals. (Click on title for full story.)