Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Development of new antibiotics from plant-originated products

Utilization of plant-originated products as new antibiotics

2018 - 2021
Young Hae Choi
Hagelunie Hagelunie

Holland Biodiversity, Erasmus MC


Natural products are still the best source for bioactive compounds for life sciences, e.g. pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and agriculture and foods. Even in modern medicine, more than 50% of new medicines come from natural products. There are many organisms available for the applications including plants, bacteria, fungi, insects, even numerous marine organisms. Of the diverse sources, plants have the longest history as a medicinal source and have been developed to cure many diseases. However, when plants including medicinal plants with traditional information are utilized as a source of antibiotics, there have not been many successful cases for the development, if any some homeomedicine of extracts level. To tackle this problem, in this project, an approach with a completely different concept was applied to an antimicrobial development from plants. Plants do not produce a single strong antimicrobial compound but they could survive without any problem with pathogenic bacteria or fungi. So, we thought there should be a different system in plants from animals and we would like to employ the system, not only chemicals. One of the interesting results, based on the approach, some plant-originated chemicals showed very strong activity against diverse pathogenic bacteria when they were treated in a synergistic way. With this approach, we believe to open a new way to develop plant-originated antibiotics.


Looking to nature for a new concept in antimicrobial treatments: isoflavonoids from Cytisus striatus as antibiotic adjuvants against MRSA. A. C. Abreu, A. Coqueiro, A. R. Sultan, N. Lemmens, H. K. Kim, R. Verporte, W. J. B. van Warmel, M. Simões, Y. H. Choi. Scientific Reports, 7, 3777, 2017. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-03716-7

Antibiotic adjuvants from Buxus sempervirens to promote effective treatment of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus including biofilms. A. C. Abreu, D. Paulet, A. Coqueiro, J. Malheiro, A. Borges, M. J. Saavedra, Y. H. Choi, Manuel Simões. RSC Advances, 6, 95000-95009, 2016.

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