London, Nov 13 : Scientists have found that the excrement of muskrats - the semi-aquatic rodents prized for their musk - contains an antibiotic that can treat food poisoning.
Ki Keun Kim and colleagues at Pusan National University, South Korea, have found that muskrat excrement contains a potent antibiotic that can kill the Salmonella bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning, and also the Vibrio bacteria that cause seafood-linked food poisoning.
The antibiotic was also found to be effective against Staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of opportunistic infections, reports New Scientist.
Also, the experiments revealed that the compound kills termites as well, thus providing an environmentally friendly method of insect control.
It is possible to collect the antibiotic by drying the faeces, and then using an organic solvent to extract the compound.
However, the patent did no reveal anything about the chemistry of the compound, or if could be safely administered to humans.