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The moon over Baikal glittered in different way, like you are looking at sable fur


Lake Baikal 'holds key to new advances in antibiotics'

By 0 and 0 and 0
06 May 2016


'One of the ways to find something new is to look somewhere where no one has ever looked before.' Picture: Galina Dvoeglazova

A global and highly competitive search is underway for new bacteria strains leading to fresh sources of antibiotics, with 'great potential' for SIberia to lead the way, according to leading scientists. 

Maxim Timofeyev, director of the R&D Biology Institute at Irkutsk State University, said: 'One of the ways to find something new is to look somewhere where no one has ever looked before. 

'We have found two locations which we're studying now. These are ancient caves and Baikal which have not been studied in this regard. Nature is still providing us with a massive area to study.'

Denis Axenov-Gribanov


Dr Denis V. Axenov-Gribanov, a leading specialist at R&D Biology Institute, heads the study of new microorganisms. Picture: ISU, Denis Axenov-Gribanov

'The search for new microorganisms producing new biologically active substances with antibiotic properties has particularly great potential in Siberia and at Baikal. On the one hand, our lands are far away from global research institutions, and on the other, we have multiple unique locations - unstudied and isolated caves and Lake Baikal with its ancient ecosystem.'

Dr Denis V. Axenov-Gribanov, a leading specialist at the same institute, said: 'One of the features of Siberian caves is that they are rather cold, only 2 to 4C. 

'Among the caves of the Baikal region the most attractive for researchers are ancient and ramified caves such as Botovskaya, Okhotnichya and those of the Tazheranskaya steppe. 

Map of caves

Botovskaya cave


Among the caves of the Baikal region the most attractive for researchers are ancient and ramified caves such as Botovskaya, Okhotnichya, those of the Tazheranskaya steppe and Bolshaya Oreshnaya complex in Krasnoyarsk region.  Pictures: The Siberian Times, Komanda-K, Denis Axenov-Gribanov

'Each and every cave is unique: Botovskaya cave is the longest cave in Russia, while the caves of the Tazheranskaya steppe date from when the ancient Lake Baikal was only forming, that is over 30 million years ago.' The lake is the oldest - and deepest - in the world. 

'We have collected Baikal's endemic crayfish, caddis, and did a microbiological analysis. Two weeks afterwards, it wasn't yet clear whether there were bacteria. However, later we obtained 30 great strains, about 90% of which were active.'

Another success came at the world largest karstic cave in the Bolshaya Oreshnaya complex in Krasnoyarsk region, examined by Russian and German scientists.

Bolshaya Oreshnaya cave

Bolshaya Oreshnaya cave


In Bolshaya Oreshnaya complex in Krasnoyarsk region were obtained previously unknown biologically active compounds including antibiotics which inhibit growth of bacteria and fungi. Pictures: Alexander Balalin, Denis Axenov-Gribanov

'We obtained moonmilk substance and found 10 new strains of actinobacterias, producers of several antibiotics, from it,' he said. 'According to the study, they produce previously unknown biologically active compounds including antibiotics which inhibit growth of bacteria and fungi. For example, an active strain produces over 120 compounds, 100 out of which are new and haven't been studied before.' 

He said: 'It is necessary to conduct numerous studies... to turn a compound in a commercial product. It will be essential to go through certain bureaucratic procedures, obtain substantial funding and prove your antibiotic is better, non-toxic and effective, and that you're moving in the right direction.'

Comments (7)

John Holland doesn't even mention the vast population of bacteriophages (bacteria viruses). I have seen estimates there are 10-100 times more bacteriophages than bacteria in the ocean. When you swim in the ocean (or even a lake or river) and get a bit of water in your mouth, the variety of bacteriophages you ingest is beyond practical human comprehension.
Bru Zote, US
03/08/2020 10:00
russia is a land of discoveries-wonderful country, always love it
Mary-Ann White, United Kingdom
01/01/2019 06:24
Maybe Genghis Khan or Chinggis Khaan, born Temüjin's secret burial location will finally be found.
John Dingler, artist, Los Angeles, CA USA
05/12/2017 10:00
There are many pathogens an bacteria as well as viruses frozen in the permafrost , some may just be waiting to infect the human race and end its existence
Walter, Canada
22/11/2017 10:32
O lago Baikal como o maior e mais profundo lago de a'gua doce do mundo deve ser melhor pesquisado pelos melhores cientistas russos. Com certeza havera' muitas descobertas que ajudarão no progresso da Ciência e isso ajudara' a curar muitas doenças. A Russia sempre se destacou mundialmente em pesquisas cientificas.
natercio silva, Guaratuba - Parana' - Brazil
04/06/2017 11:16
You know Bobby, bacteria were using antibiotics before there were wasps. Because of that other bacteria have had plenty of time to evolve ways to deal with them and when we use one of those, it's only a question of when, not if, the bacteria against which we are using them acquire immunity via mutations or horizontal gene transfer.

Bacteriophages are one of the more promising alternatives to antibiotics.
John, Holland
15/10/2016 00:26

Have you researched the Jewel Wasp?

The female lays an egg on top of a captured Cockroach, that is buried with pebbles. As the the baby Jewel wasp grows, it eats into the Cockroach. To protect itself from bacteria, it creates an ANTIBIOTIC and dabs it all over its immediate area. Mind boggling! This parasite was using ANTIBIOTICS eons before man.
Bobby, Ireland
09/09/2016 23:25

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