Researchers have named a newly discovered natural product after actor Keanu Reeves because they believe it is as deadly as his character John Wick.
The team behind the study, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, had been working on the bacterial genus Pseudomonas for a while, the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology: Hans Knoll Institute (Leibniz-HKI) noted in a press release.
” Our research team has been studying pseudomonads since a while and we know that many of the bacterial species can be very harmful to bacteria-feeding amoebae,” said Pierre Stallforth, study leader.
However, only one of the toxins responsible for the deadly effect of the bacteria had been known so far.
The active ingredients of Pseudomonas genera that are particularly dangerous were identified by researchers. They were keanumycins B, C, and A. It kills enemies very effectively, just like John Wick.
“(H)e, too, is extremely deadly in his roles,” study first author Sebastian Gotze of Leibniz-HKI said.
This keanumycin group is, indeed, deadly. This keanumycin group was reported to be effective against Botrytis cinerea plant pest, which results in large harvest losses each year. And since it is biodegradable and “harmless” to plant cells, it’s possible that a product containing keaunumycins could ideally be used as a more Earth-friendly plant pesticide alternative, according to Leibniz-HKI.
But the research doesn’t stop there. Researchers have tested its killing instincts on other fungi which can affect people. One of them is Candida albicans, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the “most common” Candida species to cause infection in people.
“We found that it strongly inhibits the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans, among others,” Gotze explained.
It was previously found to be harmless to human cells. This could open the door for antimycotic drugs that are “urgently required” since there isn’t a lot on the market.
Overall, the discovery of keanumycins could not only lead to a new, environment-friendly way of protecting crops, but also helps fight human fungal infections.