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Thanksgiving Special: How turkeys can save your life

Written by Agencies |Published : November 27, 2014 1:29 PM IST

Washington, Nov 26: Did you know that turkey, a popular part of thanksgiving meal, is not only good in taste, but can also save your life? According to a study published in the Journal of Bacteriology, turkey contains good bacteria that produces a potentially life-saving antibiotic called MP1 antibiotic.

According to microbiologist Joel Griffitts, these antibiotics kept the turkey farms healthy for years and have the potential to keep humans healthy as well.

What is MP1 ?

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MP1 is an antibiotic produced by bacteria Strain 115. It can killer staph infections, strep throat, severe gastrointestinal diseases and roughly half of all infectious bacteria. This antibiotic, however, is not in widespread use because of its complex structure. (Read: 8 health benefits of chicken)

The scientists found the engine inside of Strain 115, a compact DNA molecule also known as a plasmid, produces both the killer antibiotic and a self-protecting agent. It makes a 'spare' ribosome part which, when inserted into a normal ribosome, renders it immune to the antibiotic. But what makes this turkey story so great is that, just like Thanksgiving, it has a great beginning. It started with a turkey farm more than three decades ago, when now-retired BYU professor Marcus Jensen discovered Strain 115. (Read: When do you need antibiotics for cold and cough?)

Through his research on the strain, Jensen went on to develop three vaccines vital to the prevention of diseases in turkeys. And while his work with turkeys became widely known and led to awards, his research moved in new directions and the strain was set aside in 1983. Some 30 years later, a student found the strain in a freezer. After some initial research efforts by undergraduates, the project was taken into high gear. (Read: Antibiotics to treat gum disease)

Source: ANI

Photo source: ANI

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