New Way to Fight Superbugs Found in Noxious Weed
The invasive Brazilian peppertree contains a substance that keeps drug-resistant bacteria from producing their deadly toxins.
In the southern United States, the Brazilian peppertree is no one’s garden favorite.
Officially classified as a noxious weed in Florida, the tall, aggressive invader is a distant relative of poison ivy. It’s loaded with irritating compounds that some people react to just from smelling its flowers.
Yet the despised peppertree might turn out to be medically valuable. An Emory University researcher has identified a compound in its fruit that possesses a novel mechanism for controlling antibiotic resistance, one of the greatest threats to public health.
Quave’s earlier work focused on southern Italy and Albania, but she happens to come from Florida, “and I came across the peppertree all the time in my childhood, because it grows near my dad’s place,”