Tasmania, Australia – Researchers from Australia found several health benefits in the milk of Tasmanian devils. The milk from these marsupials could combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs since their environment is not hygienic, so they develop defenses to survive in such area.

The Ph.D. candidate Emma Peel from the University of Sidney who led the investigation said that the properties and peptides found in the Tasmanian devil genomes are considerably more compared to other mammals and other from their same species.

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), at the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park, Taranna, Tasmania, Australia. Image Credit: JJ Harrison /Wikipedia

Also, the University of Sidney researchers stated that there are possibilities to find these properties in other type marsupials such as tammar wallabies and opossums to be used in humans in the future. In fact, there are around eight peptides in the tammar wallabies and around 12 peptides in the opossums.

They do not discard this possibility due to the marsupials genomes are similar and also their environment which could considerably develop these peptides to adapt them to their habitat.

The milk of Tasmanian devils contains chemical compounds called cathelicidins; these are antimicrobial peptides that could cure infections such as golden staph, Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. The MRSA infection is hard to treat since its resistance to antibiotics and is carried on the skin, inside the nose and the throat of the people without noticing.

Back in 2014, a study in the United Kingdom led by Lord Jim O’Neill stated that by 2050 superbugs will kill around 10 million people, which it means one person every 3 seconds.

Possible cure for other diseases

Researchers from the University of Sidney after the discovery of the benefits of the milk from the Tasmania Devils are analyzing the milk of these animals to recreate it and to provide treatments for several pathogens and infections acquired resistant superbugs.

Also, they are looking for the possibility to find anti-cancer benefits from the cathelicidins and peptides because of its high properties against infections.

Tasmanian devils environment

The time of gestation of the Tasmanian devil is just around 21 days, because of this the milk of the mothers must have enough nutrients and antibodies so the babies can adapt to their environment.

The environment where the Tasmanian devil habits are not clean enough, which makes them exposed to several bacteria constantly and the way that the Tasmanian devil babies can survive is through their mother’s pouch where they spend several months settling in their habit and be able to live in it.

Source: BBC