Keanu Reeves names antifungal molecule

Researchers at the Leibniz Hans Knöll Institute have found a new environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides against fungal attacks in agriculture. It is a molecule found in bacteria called Pseudomonas. The molecule destroys the cell walls of fungi which, for example, are behind rotting attacks on plants.

The researchers have also tested the molecule on fungal species that affect humans. They discovered that the molecule, which is a so-called lipopeptide, kills yeast, for example Candida albicans. It causes fungal infections in people with weakened immune systems.

It wasn’t difficult for the researchers to find a name for the new fungicide: keanumycin.

– The molecule is so effective that we named it after Keanu Reeves because he is also an effective killer in his roles, writes researcher Sebastian Götze, one of the authors of the study who is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Photo: Alberto Pezzali/AP

According to the researchers, the new molecule could become an effective weapon against fungi that cause major problems for farmers, for example against gray mold Botrytis cinerea which attacks strawberries and grapes, among other things. Keanumycin can also become an effective and safe antifungal (fungal agent) in medicine.

Keanumycin can stop the gray mold Botrytis cinerea which, among other things, attacks grapes.

Photo: Scott Bauer/TT

According to a report from the World Health Organization WHO last year, fungal infections are claiming more and more human lives as the fungal species develop resistance (resistance) to the antifungal drugs available today. Two yeasts, Candida albicans and White ears belongs to the species that the WHO warns about in its report. They have become resistant to several drugs and therefore very difficult to treat.

– The resistance is partly due to the fact that the fungicides are used on a large scale in agriculture, says Sebastian Götze, and he believes that keanumycin can become a new environmentally friendly, biodegradable alternative to chemical pesticides.

Photo: HBO Max

But what do you think? Keanu Reeves on having an antifungal molecule named after him? When the actor was asked in a forum on Reddit ahead of the upcoming film about the former assassin John Wick, he replied that the molecule should be called John Wick instead.

– But it’s still pretty cool… and surreal. Good luck, and thanks for helping us! writes Keanu Reeves.

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