Antibiotics In Your Nose!

Antibiotics In Your Nose!

We’ve got a whole lotta holes in this episode
of SciShow News! Human nose holes, the unexpected source of
a new antibiotic… and blue holes, which go deeper than ever before. So let’s start with the blue kind: Chinese scientists have reportedly found the
deepest blue hole – an underwater cavern or sinkhole, named for its deep blue color
compared to the surrounding shallow water. Using an underwater robot, researchers from
the Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection plumbed the depths of
Dragon Hole, in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. They measured the hole to be a whopping 300
meters deep – deep enough to submerge the Eiffel Tower! Their findings still need to be independently
confirmed by other scientists working in the field. But if true, this’ll smash the previous
record, held by Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas by nearly a hundred meters. Blue holes are basically underwater caverns
with a big entrance on top. They’re usually found in areas with lots
of limestone or other carbonate rocks, which are slightly water soluble under the right
conditions. So if they’re exposed to acidic rain, or
flowing water, some water can seep below the surface and erode the rock, forming a hidden
underground cavern. If the top layer gets too thin, the ceiling
can collapse, leaving a deep well known as a sinkhole. And if sea levels then rise, like they did
after the last ice age, you’ve got yourself a blue hole. That’s generally what happens, but each
blue hole has a different origin story – just like caves on land. Also, the role of things like climate and
environmental microbes aren’t well understood. The researchers plan to keep studying Dragon
Hole, and might figure out how it formed. But that’s not the only reason to study
it: There’s life, too! The researchers found 20 species that called
Dragon Hole their home – but they all lived in the top 100 meters or so. Below that, oxygen levels plummeted, and apparently
there wasn’t much life. Now, it’s not impossible to find life in
the deep ocean – we’re finding weird new species every year, some living kilometers
beneath the waves. In the future, maybe scientists could find
some unique stuff in the depths of Dragon Hole, whether it’s specialized microbes
or fossils in the sediment. But human nose holes have their own interesting
microbes too: Researchers from the University of Tübingen
have discovered a brand new antibiotic. It’s a peptide molecule they named lugdunin,
which can kill a whole range of harmful bacteria. This includes MRSA – a superbug strain of
Staphylococcus aureus that kills an estimated 11,000 Americans each year, by infecting the
skin, lungs or bloodstream. This is a really big deal, because right now
we’re not finding enough new antibiotics to fight off multidrug-resistant bacteria. Lugdunin is one of the first antibiotics extracted
from human microbiota bacteria that live in and around our bodies – rather than from
soil bacteria, or other sources. Specifically, it’s produced by a species
called S. lugdunensis. The researchers were curious about this microbe
after comparing the nasal microbiota of people with and without S. aureus. They found that people who had S. lugdunensis
in their noses were nearly six times less likely to also have S. aureus up there. The reason? Well, when the researchers stuck them on a
petri dish together, they found that S. lugdunensis eliminates S. aureus even when outnumbered
ten to one! By analyzing its genome, the scientists pinned
down the molecule responsible for all that carnage: lugdunin. They aren’t exactly sure how it works yet,
but it might have to do with breaking down energy resources that the bacteria need to
do… well, everything. Our bodies are like battlefields – the bacteria
are fighting for space and nutrients, using tricks like lugdunin to help kill off the
competition. The researchers hope this bacterium’s killer
compound is one we can use for ourselves, with som e careful development. We don’t just want to go sticking S. lugdunensis
up people’s noses, because it can cause infections if given the chance. But maybe scientists could transfer the antibiotic
gene to a completely harmless bacterium, so it can produce the chemical for us. Or if we can develop a prescription drug,
it could help people who need lots of surgeries or with lowered immune systems – situations
where the opportunistic S. aureus can spread uncontrollably. Now, lugdunin may be promising, but it doesn’t
kill off all kinds of bacteria, and it’s a long way off from hospital use. Even for a molecule around 10% of us have
up our nostrils right now, drug development takes years to be safe and effective. But understanding more about how bacteria
interact inside us – whether it’s helping each other or competing for space – could
possibly lead to even more antibiotic discoveries… …right under our noses. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
News, which was brought to you by our patrons on Patreon. If you want to help support this show, just
go to And don’t forget to go to
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100 Replies to “Antibiotics In Your Nose!”

  1. Hank is everywhere,
    S(ci)ee-Hank go
    From outer space,
    to up your nose.
    From Chinese holes,
    to in your heart,
    He's Super Hank,
    Go Hank Go

  2. Yes good idea, lets destroy the effectiveness of our own defense mechanisms by making it much more likely bacteria develop ways to get resistent to that.

  3. I miss the hourglass sand timer that you guys used to have on the side to show how long you would talk about a specific topic.

  4. I know whats deep blue holes im not watching to get smart im watching to know what are science YT channels and all of them think everyone who is watching them are dumb nerds.

  5. This maybe a very stupid question, but please. So…oxygen levels are dramatically low, in the deepest part of that hole….so what's down there? Liquid hydrogen? Hydrogen bonded to something else? Other than oxygen. If fish need oxygen to live, and their gills pull oxygen out of the water, then what's the water like, after their gills? Is that what's filling the bottom of that hole? I never thought about this until now. I honestly don't know.

  6. all these medical breakthroughs but we still can't figure out how to cure the worst illness of all, a stuffed nose

  7. I don't get why chinese keep naming stuff "dragon". I know i know, we chinese has always considered ourselves as "the descendant of dragon" but naming dragon-everything are just boring and kinda obsessive.

  8. Making an antibiotic for medical use from this then misuse it as we have
    done for the other antibiotics we have discovered. Once bacteria become
    resistant we are seriously in trouble. This is not a good idea.

  9. great, now bacteria can grow to be resistant to a new antibiotic, that we already are protected with, rendering it useless!


  11. I won't be surprised if China enforced military efforts on the area around the hole and built something there with a whole lot of weapons for "Peaceful research.." Hahah.

  12. My sister has colonized MRSA in her lungs so hearing the news about a possible drug to eliminate it is fantastic.

  13. I'd like it if I could search through scishow episodes using the keyword hank, so I can filter out all the others.

  14. do Americans pronounce MRSA as "mur-sa"? I'm from the UK and have only ever heard it said as the individual letters…

  15. "We´ve got a whole lotta holes"…XD

    "Blue holes, nose holes"…. *thinking *… Assholes!
    Wondering where we find those? My guess would be in politics. But they should be in the same place as blue holes – in the depth of the ocean!

  16. We are soooo FUCKED. Now we will start to overuse anti-biotics of our own body like mad, burning up our last lines of defense.

  17. Take it from the ten percent, mass produce, flood market, bacteria adapts, antibiotic useless. If everyone can't have it… no one will… the wonderful story of how antibiotics are going the way of the dodo.

  18. If you get a sink hole in your yard and it sucks in your home, do you still own the land that once was? If it sinks does it become the same as the air above your property which isn't owned by ones self?

  19. This is great. But can we not take this new bacteria, put it in pill or liquid form, and then distribute this to every person with a cough? Because we will be outsmarted by the harmful bacteria once again and be back to square one, digging for a cure to the next super bug.

  20. Been eating my bugers since I was 5, I'm 20 now and I've been bed-sick only 4 times.

    Real shit, never gonna stop.

  21. Total nose/nostrils shape fetishist. Im a sucker for a well shaped straight bridged, sculpted lower nose, hott tip, septum, and flares. I have sucked the gunk out of many welll shaped nasal units over the years.

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