Here is some major justification for parents who think sending their kids out to play in the dirt will make them hardier: Scientists have discovered a microorganism in the mud of the California coast that might be able to help fight anthrax and antibiotic-resistant staph infections.
The BBC reports that from the microorganism, scientists extracted “a completely new and unusual antibiotic compound.” Its structure is “unlike any previously reported natural antibiotic.” Which is a pretty big deal:
Leader of the team of researchers, William Fenical, commented: “The real importance of this work is that anthracimycin has a new and unique chemical structure. The discovery of truly new chemical compounds is quite rare.”
It’s not totally clear that this compound can save us from ourselves and the drug bacteria we’ve created … but it could. Initial testing has shown that these new anthracimycin are just raring to beat up anthrax bacteria. So, there you have it: Playing in the mud will save us all.