Interesting Facts about Medicine in Nature
Biodiversity plays a vital role in maintaining human health. Many modern drugs and supplements have been derived from a wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms in the biodiversity. These are the four organisms found to have contributed in the medical field. Are you able to tell their uses in improvement of human health?
1. Microorganism: Streptomyces griseus
Streptomyces griseus is a bacterium under the genus of Streptomyces. It is commonly found in soil. Streptomycin, the first antibiotic cure for tuberculosis (TB), comes from strains of S. griseus.
Scanning electron microscopy image of S. griseus M-1027
Photo source: S. Amano, S. Miyadoh & T. Shomura from the Society for Actinomycetes Japan
2. Animal: Conus magus
Conus magus is also known as a cone snail. It is a marine species which uses its venom to protect against predators. Ziconotide, a chemical derived from the venom of C. magus, acts as a painkiller with 1000 times more potent than morphine.
Conus magus shell
Photo source: Meriney and Fanselow (2019) from Synaptic Transmission 1st Edition
3. Plant: Catharanthus roseus
Catharanthus roseus also known as Rosy Periwinkle. Vinblastine and Vincristine, chemotherapy medications used to treat several types of cancers (leukemia, lung cancer, bladder cancer and brain cancer), were originally obtained from this plant. This plant is endangered in the wild but widely cultivated in India, Europe, China and America.
A healthy growing subshrub of Catharanthus roseus
Photo source: Loupok from Useful Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern.
4. Plant: Calophyllum lanigerum
Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum, is a rare member of mangosteen family found in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. This tree produces a compound called Calanolide A, which exhibits inhibition against HIV-1.
The leaves and the fruits of Calophyllum lanigerum
Photo source: Jane Wong S.K. from Useful Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern.