Potentially Powerful New Antibiotic Discovered in Dirt


A new class of microorganisms kills drug-resistant “superbugs”—and lives in dirt. (Washington Post)

Learn more about antibiotics and the biotics they target with our Q&A here.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

The new research relied on soil samples collected by citizen scientists all over the United States.
Photograph by Pete Muller, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas


  • How did antibiotics end up in dirt?
    • They live there! Researchers think the new microbes used as antibiotics are part of soil’s microbiome. Billions of identified and unidentified bacteria, fungi, and even microscopic animals make up the living (or once-living) parts of a thriving ecosystem … of dirt.








Washington Post: A potentially powerful new antibiotic is discovered in dirt

Nat Geo: Antibiotic Resistance Q&A

(extra credit!) Nature Microbiology: Culture-independent discovery of the malacidins as calcium-dependent antibiotics with activity against multidrug-resistant Gram-positive pathogens

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