A new approach to synthesizing natural compounds could significantly speed research and manufacturing processes for these therapeutics. Typically, compounds found in a plant or microbe that could have a therapeutic effect are isolated and then synthesized using a very time-consuming and expensive process. But scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Arizona have shortened the process, using enzymes used by cells and mixing them with starter materials that hastens the synthesizing process. In order to prove the principle, investigators synthesized enterocin, an antibiotic found in a marine organism. The difficult part was making the enzymes they needed, according to the researchers. Once that was done, they could make the compounds in a matter of hours.
- see the release from Scripps