Scientists at a German research institute have named a bacterial compound that efficiently eradicates harmful fungi after Keanu Reeves.
The compounds, called "keanumycins," proved to be as devastating to foes as Reeves' titular character in the "John Wick" films, said Dr. Pierre Stallforth, a researcher and a professor of paleobiotechnology at Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, according to The New York Times.
"Keanu Reeves plays many iconic roles in which he is extremely efficient in 'inactivating' his enemies," Stallforth said. "The keanumycins do the same with fungi."
Reeves downplayed news of his name being used in association with the scientific compound during a question-and-answer forum on Reddit held by Lionsgate.
"They should've called it John Wick," he said, according to The New York Times.
"But that's pretty cool … and surreal for me. But thanks, scientist people! Good luck, and thank you for helping us."
Sebastian Götze, the study's lead author, gave a detailed explanation of how the compound works and why it is so significant to the medical community.
"The keanumycins create holes in the surface of the pathogen and it 'bleeds' to death," Götze said. "Like Keanu Reeves in his many roles as a proficient killer, the newly discovered molecules can also very efficiently, at low concentrations, kill different human fungal pathogens, by riddling them with holes."
The authors created a broth of bacteria that produce keanumycin, then applied it to a hydrangea plant covered with the fungus Botrytis cinerea, which commonly spreads among greenhouse crops. The bacteria filled the fungus with holes that released the plaque from the plant, proving that keanumycins can successfully fight mold rot, The New York Times Reported. They also found similar results with Candida albicans, a fungus that naturally occurs in the human body and can cause infection if overproduced.
Götze said that keanumycins, or a similar natural biodegradable agent, could be an instrumental alternative to pesticides and antibiotics amid a "crisis of anti-infectives."
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