Science Alert: Platypus Milk Could Help Us Fight Antibiotic Resistance

by | Mar 19, 2018 | Headline News | 31 comments

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    A new report out about Australia’s oddest animal, the platypus, claims that a newly discovered protein in the critters’ milk could help humans fight the globally growing resistance to antibiotics.

    According to The World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health and food security today. Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country and it occurs naturally, but the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.

    Researchers had previously discovered that platypus milk confers antimicrobial protection to the species’ young. However, a new study led by scientists at Australia’s CSIRO has figured out what it is about platypus milk that’s so effective against bacteria. And it comes down to a protein.

    “Platypus are such weird animals that it would make sense for them to have weird biochemistry,” says one of the team, molecular biologist Janet Newman. “By taking a closer look at their milk, we’ve characterized a new protein that has unique antibacterial properties with the potential to save lives.”

    The findings are reported in Structural Biology Communications.

    According to Science Alert, using protein crystallization techniques pioneered at the CSIRO’s Collaborative Crystallisation Centre, the researchers were able to replicate the protein in the la and decipher its molecular structure in 3D to see where its antimicrobial properties come from. What they found was a unique, never-before-seen protein fold, comprising a unique ringlets structure – which the researchers nicknamed ‘Shirley Temple’, after the distinctive golden curls of the American child star.

    According to the researchers on the team, this “curly Q” feature might have evolved in the animal’s milk to help protect platypus young, who don’t feed from the teats (the platypus has none), but from milk expressed onto the mother’s belly. “That means the milk is expressed onto a milk pad where the pups lap it up and of course milk is designed to be nutritious, so anything that’s in the environment could also use that milk,” Newman explained to Radio NZ.

    The agreed upon hypothesis so far is that the platypus evolved this new protein as a way to feed the pups while protecting them from environmental factors, like bacteria, that are attracted to milk. It’s not the first time this unusual animal has come to the aid of humanity either. In 2016, researchers discovered a hormone contained in platypus venom could actually help us develop new kinds of diabetes treatments.

    “There’s a quote from [Louis] Pasteur which is ‘Chance favors the prepared mind’,” Newman told Radio NZ. “You can find discoveries in all sorts of places.”


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      1. What kind of warped individual sits around in a lab and says, hey “let’s try a glass of Platypus milk maybe that will work”? Dude needs to get out in the sun more.

        • They dont do that. They look at things in the milk in the same way they look at what is in tree bark etc

        • The platypus has always intrigued me. Did a beaver fuck a duck, or was mother nature on crack that day?

        • Stuart

          Maybe the same type of guy that stumbles upon bread mold being synthesized into penicillin.

          Its thinking, “outside of the box” that advances science, technology and medicine.

      2. How does one go about milking one of those little critters anyway?

        • That is what I was thinking, too! Jeez after reading the article they don’t have teats they express milk onto a pad. WTF!

          The end of the article doesn’t get clearer when it mentions platypus venom can be used to treat diabetes. Platypus are venomous, too? /facepalm

          • Okay, there is a wiki page, of course, that explains platypus venom. The males produce the venom during breeding season via spurs on their hind feet from a little hook. The venom is only produced during breeding season, not all year round, and the venom is not deadly to humans.

      3. I think Trump has been drinking the platypus milk, probably get’s high off it. Not one word said by Trump on cannabis being legal or not despite the majority of Americans favoring complete legalization. This has to mean big pharma controls Trump along with Sessions. When is he going to let the cat out of the bag? Say something, don’t hide behind wimpy Sessions. Wanting to kill opiod drug dealers instead of stopping all production of opiods, make sense?

        • “Wanting to kill opiod drug dealers”

          But by all means leave the CIA’s involvement in narcotics and the banks (Wachovia 2010) laundering $378 billion with no one charged and a fine of $160 million.

          h ttp://

          h ttp://

      4. For God’s sake!!! Leave the little critters alone. The poor ‘girls’ ain’t even got teats. If you have to, take a sample and replicate it in a lab; but, just for once let such simple creatures be.

        • If scientists are going to go to all the trouble of taking a girl Platypus and conduct experiments on her, can they at least give her some decent tits?

          Can you imagine it? Hot female platypus’.

          She can join the long like of women, hookers, whores, prostitutes, and Playboy Playmates accusing Trump of abusing them.

      5. They say many people are lactose intolerant.
        Some think that it is more related to the processing pasteurization and homogenization. The first is done by heat which kills bacteria, good and bad. The second is simply to mix the fat with the rest of the milk. Organic Valley sells Grassmilk. That is milk from cows that roam around freely munching on grass. This milk comes from cows who are not fed any grains at all.

        That is good for people whom are sensitive to gluten.

        Northern Europeans have been drinking cows milk and are more likely to able to digest milk than Southern Europeans. And while Southern Europeans are able to handle wine, Celtics or Irish are not as likely to be able to handle it.

        Platibus milk (sounds disgusting) may be of interest to researchers. But, personally, just the thought of it makes me sick. Seriously, if scientists are making progress with antibiotics, fantastic.

        What kind of person is interested in medical research? Someone who is intelligent.



      6. Platypus, just another example that mother nature has a sense of humor.

        • Yuge. Biggly.

      7. The researchers will find out what ingredient in the milk is responsible and produce a synthetic version of it. They might even try to improve on it. Many of the antibiotics came from fungi, particularly mushrooms. The mushrooms are attacked by many of the same bacteria, viruses, and parasites as we humans are. The mushrooms secrete substances into the soil that are quite remarkable. There are enzymes that help to break down toxins that we put in the soil. Also, many of the antibiotics that are being marketed are synthetic versions of antibiotics produced by the mushrooms. Consuming certain mushrooms may increase the effectiveness of the antibiotics that you are using. The medicinal mushrooms that are mentioned most often are the reishi, maitake, shiitake, and cordyceps. It is a pity that it wasn’t kangaroo milk, since there are so many of them and the platypus are rarer.

      8. These little critters are not an over populated group. I can imagine humans killing them off to get their milk. Another insane idea.

        Leave them alone!

        • You obviously didn’t read the article. They are not harming any little creatures for milk. Scienctists were able to synthesis the stuff. So calm down and go back to your cats.

          • So, what? I’m supposed to go out and milk a Platypus?

            • Another person that didn’t read the article! They don’t have teats! They express, or push out the milk onto a pad so the kits can lap it up.

              • EWWWWWW! And I ain’t licking no Playpus’ milk pad neither.

                You are one sick MF, Philosopher.

          • Synthetic Playpus milk? Who makes that? Monsanto?

        • Well, at least the white rhinos and the wild elephants will get a break.

      9. I only buy milk with growth horomones. Growth horomones are good for you help you build lean muscle. Make you strong. I’ve been into lifting for years. In the milk is fine imo I wouldn’t do the juice though. Give it to the kids too. Its hard to find milk with gh because all the snowflakes push for dairy farmers not to use it in cows. Do the research it’s not horrible. My thinking they don’t want us to have gh because strong men scares tptb. Another tactic to emasculate men. They want everyone to be weak and flaming gay. men in their 40s have been given growth horomones by physicians and have said they feel like they are in their 20s and look it too.

        • I saw a cow that had been fed its mother’s milk. The cow’s milk had been loaded with growth hormones. You know what happened. The cow grew to ten (10) times the size of normal cow. And not in a good way.

      10. Humans need their mother’s milk the first three months of life, after that the child already has mothers antibodies. Humans don’t need any milk after that. Humans are worse off drinking any milk from other species. This story is a farcical joke.

      11. I tried that once but could not get the platypus to hold still while I tried to milk it.

      12. Oh sh**…this will end the platypus as a species….the morons are going to kill them allbecause of hunting them for the magic cure of platypus milk…..Too bad that such a unique creature will soon go the way of the white rhino that man succeeded killing off the last male alive, this week.

        • Magic milk, magic rhino horns, magic gorilla hands, magic gall bladders, magic elephant tusks.

          Fortunately, for the 99-percent of the species that once existed on the Earth humans can say one thing: “We didn’t kill them all.”

      13. I thought the Platypus was extinct. Now, I’m supposed to drink extinct milk?

        • I know, thinking is hard.

      14. Apparently, laughing, for you Philosopher, is even harder.

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