Roadkill chemistry

Molecular diversity can be found in the most peculiar of environments. A team from the University of Oklahoma suggests that animals killed on the road might offer a surprising source of novel molecular structures. The source of the novelty lies in the obscure microorganisms that colonize the carcasses and produce a diverse range of natural products and metabolites any one of which might have any of the desirable range of properties in screening assays for physiologically active compounds. For instance, cyclic lipodepsipeptides produced by two bacteria isolated from the ear canal of a dead opossum showed activity in limiting biofilm formation by fungal cells associated with yeast infections.