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Nature’s pharmacy

Used as an analgesic, an antimicrobial and a cicatrizant, false arnica (Lychnophora ericoides) hosts a veritable chemical factory. This refers not only to the substances produced by the plant, but also to the profusion of microorganisms that inhabit it.  The fungus Coniochaeta sp., for example, turns red in response to a fungicide released by the Streptomyces albospinus bacteria (white substance at left). Understanding these chemical interactions and identifying the traits of the substances involved may help in developing such things as drugs, insecticides, and herbicides.

Image submitted by Andrés Mauricio Caraballo Rodríguez, PhD from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto at the University of São Paulo