Health Desk: 09 February 2018: Ants naturally produce powerful germicides against bacteria and fungi, said a study Wednesday that targeted the industrious insects as possible drug factories for humans.
The discovery of ants' pharmaceutical prowess comes as the armoury of effective antibiotics developed by humans over the last 100 years dwindles in the face of growing germ resistance.
Experiments with 20 ant species found antimicrobials on 12 of them, a team reported in the Royal Society Open Science journal.
"This means ants are probably a good place to look if you want to discover new antimicrobial compounds," study co-author Clint Penick of the Arizona State University told AFP.
Ants produce the compounds in special glands often referred to as their "chemical factories".
"Ants coat their bodies with secretions from these glands, and some ants distribute these antimicrobials around their nests similar to how we would use antiseptic cleaners in our homes," said Penick.