Scientists hope to develop a new antimicrobial and antifungal drug thanks to ... squids. Squids have iron, which is part of their reproductive system and which has curious antimicrobial properties, phys.org reported.
Scientists from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Pharmacy have studied the specialized reproductive gland of squid, called the auxiliary nidamental gland, the function of which until then was the subject of controversy.
Researchers describe a little finger-sized gland with thousands of antennae that inject bacteria into a jelly shell that is layered on each of 100–300 mother’s eggs before it lays them on the seabed.
According to the researchers, growing squid eggs are susceptible to fungal infections in the absence of bacterial coating. The team made chemical extracts from bacteria and showed that they contain antimicrobial properties that suppress not only fungal infections associated with squid, but also Candida albicans, which can cause serious and fatal infections in people with weakened immune systems, such as HIV-infected or cancer patients.
"So many people are affected" by Candida infections, says Marcy Balunas of the School of Pharmacy. "We know these chemicals have a biological purpose, and they could lead us to drug discovery."