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Antibiotics Anyone?

Antibiotics Anyone? Figure A (20KB)

Seventeen third-year organic chemistry students at Victoria University synthesised bacteria-fighting antibiotics as part of their course. Fifteen of the 17 successfully created unique antibiotics and had them tested on E.coli bacteria with impressive results.

The students were given six materials from which to make the antibiotics and identified the antibiotic structure as it was developed. The base antibiotic, a quinolone, requires four steps to synthesise, and each stage is analysed for purity and to see if it was successful. Once the antibiotics had been made, they were tested, at four different concentrations, on E.coli bacteria.

Dr John Hoberg, who teaches the course, says worldwide research into antibiotics is increasing as chemists try to come up with compounds to fight superbugs.

"Many years ago scientists thought the problem had been solved, but now more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to a large number of antibiotics.

"The work we are doing here at Victoria gives students a taste of the type of research which scientists are doing around the world."

Photo by Les Maiden, Victoria University. Used by permission.