What are antibiotics made of?

Most antibiotics are based on natural products synthesized by bacteria and fungi. Quinolones (like Cipro) and sulfa drugs (like sulfamethoxazole) are the major exceptions to this rule.

Antibiotics belong to a class of natural compounds called secondary metabolites. These are molecules that are not essential to normal growth and metabolism (like sugars, amino acids and nucleic acids) but perform specialized roles. Secondary metabolites enable creatures that can’t move or speak to communicate, control their environments and defend themselves.

Bacteria, plants and fungi are much better than human chemists at creating complex molecules. These biosyntheses are often accomplished in factories within cells, large complexes of enzymes in which various precursors and intermediates are assembled, modified and passed on.

Vancomycin, the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in US hospitals, is a good example:

From Bis-chlorination of a hexapeptide-PCP conjugate by the halogenase involved in vancomycin biosynthesis

Although total synthesis of vancomycin has been accomplished in labs, I believe that it is still produced commercially by fermentation of the bacterium Amycolatopsis orientalis from which it was first isolated.

The thing to keep in mind about these secondary metabolites is that anything that is made by an enzyme can also be broken down by an enzyme - often the same one that made it. Small tweaks to these enzymes, or just putting them in a different environment, can cause them to degrade antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is thus an intrinsic and inevitable feature of antibiotic use.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

What do you think about antibiotics now? Tell us in the comments below!

#Science #health #Quora


What are your thoughts on this subject?
About what I'd expect in your informaion, but o be fair, I know more than averageon this subject.
Jun 27, 2020 7:00AM
Thank you! Had no idea
Nov 7, 2019 2:57PM
Judith Bandsma
I'm allergic to almost all of them. The ones I'm not are the ones I've never heard of yet. What do I do when I get sick? Get well or die. So far the former has worked.
Jul 16, 2019 4:52PM
Janet Poor
Thank you for this info!!!😊
May 20, 2019 1:51AM
It's a well known fact that over prescribed antibiotics are the chief cause of their ineffectiveness
Apr 2, 2019 6:07PM
Shashi Nath
Good information, thanks
Mar 27, 2019 10:30PM
Caroline Weis
michellerose, and most of the time those methods work better then going to a quack doctor. Lots of the people that live in the Appalachia area use herbs and such to heal wounds and other malidies with good results and since they are scraping out a living can't afford doctor visits.
Mar 13, 2019 5:31PM
Carroll Price
Clear as mud.
Feb 21, 2019 8:15AM
Penelope Harrison
michellerose, 👍
Jan 9, 2019 1:53AM
Chaman Lal Koul
fermentation of bacteria only
Dec 22, 2018 12:21PM
Suzanne Wilson
michellerose, Hi! Great comment/info. I'm happy to give the 'mould off the fruit' a try next time I have a wound but am wondering if one would use dry tea leaves or wet/used ones.Kind regards!
Sep 28, 2018 10:42PM
John Puza
Tried most of them, work real well!!!
Sep 8, 2018 8:47PM
Humberto Carrasco
Sep 6, 2018 4:51PM
Carl J. Schiro
Why is Medicine so expensive? I understand that a pharamical company may spend millions of dollars getting a drug to market. But that is no reason for them to recover their money in one year.
Sep 2, 2018 4:16AM
Sue Savage
No thanks and in no way do they use natural products for antibiotics if that were so I wouldn’t have almost died 3 or 4 times from something a doctor subscribed to me hence why I chose to go organic and natural remedies
Sep 1, 2018 9:41PM

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