Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I hear possum bacon is yummy - I wonder if it's an antibiotic

The authors may have a conflict of interest with the opossum...
Credit: Motley et alJ. Nat. Prod.
Via the Chemistry Reddit, a really amusing source for natural products [1]:
...To obtain the large number of microbiome bacteria from diverse mammalian sources that we required for our screening process, we used an opportunistic sampling approach to explore roadkill (animals killed as a result of unintentional vehicular collisions), which is an underutilized source of microbiome bacteria.  
In our case, we focused on fresh (recently deceased) roadkill comprising mammals that are native or naturalized to central Oklahoma. Roadkill offers a convenient route to accessing microbiome bacteria since it (i) is abundant in many areas, (ii) presents the opportunity for sampling diverse animals and their associated bacteria across a broad geographical region, (iii) alleviates concerns over the trapping and testing of live animals since only carcasses are sampled, and (iv) offers the possibility to conduct chronologically dependent testing of specific animal populations over extended periods. In this paper, we present the development and application of our mammalian-microbiome-derived natural product discovery pipeline (Figure 1) and present data for several new and known depsipeptides obtained from opossum-associated bacteria.  
...Opportunistic sampling of mammalian roadkill took place over a two-year period near the University of Oklahoma campus (Norman, OK, USA). Carcasses deemed fresh (generally determined to have been struck by motor vehicles no more than 10 h prior to sampling) were selected, and those with one or more intact orifices (i.e., mouth, nose, ear, eye, and rectum) or gastrointestinal tracts were sampled roadside with sterile swabs....
Imagine the undergraduate who had to sample the intact orifice...

In all seriousness, congratulations to Motley et al. for interesting science and a novel source!

1. Motley, J.L.; Stamps, B.W.; Mitchell, C.A.; Thompson, A.T.; Cross, J.; You, J.; Powell, D.R.; Stevenson, B.S.; Cichewicz, R.H. "Opportunistic Sampling of Roadkill as an Entry Point to Accessing Natural Products Assembled by Bacteria Associated with Nonanthropoidal Mammalian Microbiomes." J. Nat. Prod. ASAP DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b00772


  1. When I was at OU, Dr. Cichewicz had folks collecting dirt from their yards or vacations. Glad to see he's moved on to something more exciting, ha! He's a good guy and really has a nice metabolic natural product discovery program going there.

  2. I remember driving at night in New Zealand and feeling bad that I had run over a few possums (the island's basically overrun by them, and it's practically impossible to avoid hitting them at night). When I expressed my discomfort to the hotel manager, he said that I was performing a public service. Later I found gloves and hats made from a blend of possum and lamb "wool" in the airport.

    1. "the island's basically overrun by them" - hah! Which island was this, South? Just in case anyone thinks NZ is super backwards from reading this, rest assured that there are cities in which possums are a rare sight (I drove there for about 10 years of my life and never so much as saw a possum). Think I saw one of those possum hats though.

  3. My father used to work on a large military complex in the maintenance department. In addition to having to regularly go out for overnight snow plow duty in the winter he would occasionally (mostly spring) be called upon for long night Injured Deer searches when some driver encountered a Deer crossing the road where frequently the animal would get up afterwards and head off in to the woods. Although he never brought any home himself he did talk about a few of the guys butchering choice cuts after the deer were put down, if not found dead. Often the cars if undrivable would also be hauled off to the maintenance yard temporarily and it was amazing how much damage occurred even back in 60s vintage autos (I can imagine today's cars might fair worse although perhaps better structural integrity would mean damage only to body and not frame)


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20