New research shows that some toxins from sea anemones could be used as environmentally-friendly insecticides.
The research team discovered that venom from the sea anemone, Anthopleura elegantissima, contains toxins that would avoid resistance by insects and could potentially be used to treat pain and inflammation.
“Are toxins friend or foe? The more we understand these toxins, they are more friend, and less foe,” said co-author Dr. Jan Tytgat from the Laboratory of Toxicology at the University of Leuven. “Toxicology shows us how to exploit Mother Nature’s biodiversity for better and healthier living.”
“Because these toxins are aimed at important ion channels present not only in insect cells, they form the leading edge of our new biotechnology. Discovery of this useful marine toxin should provide additional incentive to preserve the fragile coral reefs where anemones thrive,” said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “But, given current attitudes, I suspect there’s a better chance of a sea anemone killing a stink bug than for us to reverse our inroads on ocean life.”
To learn more:
- Read the full news release: Insects beware: The sea anemone is coming
- Find the full paper, published in The FASEB Journal, here: A natural point mutation changes both target selectivity and mechanism of action of sea anemone toxins
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