Teenager used plant medicine to control bacteria

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Student discovers a natural antibiotic
By Jinny Throup
A fifteen-year old student from County Cork in Ireland, has been declared the BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year for his discovery of a natural antibiotic in the blackberry bramble plant. Simon Meehan found this “non toxic, organic, original antibiotic” after analysing ten plants in his local area, including some from his own back garden. He extracted anti-microbial agents from parts of the plants using ethanol, and then tested their antibiotic effects. Combining botany, microbiology and analytic chemistry, Simon was able to demonstrate the effectiveness of his discovery in killing several microbes that are normally resistant to antibiotic treatment. Professor John O’Halloran who was the supervisor of the award commented: “This is a really exciting project which explores the possibility of the blackberry leaf extract’s ability to control harmful bacteria.”


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