Medicinal Chemistry

ISSN: 2161-0444

Open Access

Isolating Microbial Compounds from the Invasive Lion Fish (Pterois volitans). A Potential New Method for the Control of MRSA Strains


Paul Justin Bernabe and Chris Reeves

The invasive species of Pterois volitans or commonly known as the lionfish, is spread throughout the sub-tropical and tropical Western Atlantic. The lionfish species have begun to rise as a very successful intrusive predator. Their invasion of coral reef ecosystems is a major conservation concern. Many studies have shown that this top coral reef predator is able to reproduce quickly, it’s able to survive better in foreign waters than in its native location, and it lacks significant predators when fully matured. These fish are commonly found in shallow waters with rocks or reefs, and are easily recognizable by their elegant plume-like fins.

The defensive mechanism of the lionfish proves to be quite successful due to its venomous spines projecting from its body. The spines produce a combination of protein, a neuromuscular toxin and a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. To humans the venomous sting can cause extreme pain, sweating, respiratory problems, and sometimes paralysis if stung severely. However, these invasive species could provide an alternate medicine or use with their venom to control MRSA.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) a resistant microbe that can withstand first-line antibiotics. MRSA infections account for many of the “staph” infections around the world and can also be fatal as well if not treated quickly. MRSA infections are resistant to most antibiotics though it can be treated with the powerful antibiotics, vancomycin and teicoplanin. Because the oral absorption of these drugs is low, these agents must be administered intravenously to control systemic infections. Though, the properties of the lionfish venom may prove to be an alternative to control the growth of MRSA.

This experiment is designed to test the effectiveness of the venom extracted from the lionfish as an alternative medicine to controlling or hindering the growth of the bacterium MRSA when applied to the infected area. The efficiency of the isolated venom was evaluated by looking at the growth rates of the different colonies of MRSA were treated with the venom. The venom proved to not hinder the growth of the MRSA bacteria a significant amount.


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