Alligator Blood-another assignment

     Protein found in alligator blood may offer promise in the development of new immunity drugs. Dr. Mark Merchant, a biochemist at McNeese State University announced at the American Chemical Society’s 235th national conference in New Orleans that alligator blood seems to have infection-fighting properties. Lancia Darville, a researcher from Louisiana State University stated, “Alligators must have some other additional proteins or some proteins that are overly expressed in their system that are either not present in ours or not over expressed in ours.” (Davis, 2008) If the chemical structure can be determined by isolating the antibiotic and antifungal proteins in the alligator blood new drugs may be developed for treating resistant bacteria, viruses and fungi.

     Alligators live in very unfavorable conditions. They are often subject to being hurt in their environment yet their wounds seem to not become infected. “When researchers exposed 23 species of bacteria to the serum from alligator blood, all of the bugs were destroyed,” explained Merchant. (Davis, 2008) The protein found in alligator blood may even help in the fight against HIV.

     “When exposing alligator’s white blood cells to HIV in a lab, most of the virus was destroyed. If we are able to isolate the active peptides we hope to develop them for potential use of treating viruses such as HIV,” Darville said. (Canale-Parola, 2008) To better understand the responsible peptides and proteins blood is being analyzed before and after alligator’s immune systems are exposed. Scientists extract the active proteins from previously isolated white blood cells. Bacteria that was destroyed includes, “E. coli and strains that cause dysentery, salmonella, and strep and staph infections. Alligator blood also killed the herpes simplex virus.” (Flesher, 2006)

     Alligators appear to have immunity already in place to fight against viruses and bacteria and do not have to build up immunity. A fast healing alligator may prove to be very beneficial to humans. Because of the alligator new antibacterial drugs that includes pills and topical ointments may be available in the seven to ten years. Darville concluded, “Ultimately, we would like to determine what the chemical structure is.” (Davis, 2008)



Canale-Parola, A (2008, April 7). Potent HIV killer found in alligator blood. Retrieved October      16, 2008, from COSMOS magazine Web site:

Davis, R. (n.d.). Gator blood could take a bite out of superbugs. USA Today, Retrieved October 16, 2008,  Master FILE Premier database.

Fleshler, D (2006, August 14). Alligators’ ‘ferocious’ immune system could lead to new medicines for people. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from South Florida Website:     gatorscience14xaug14,0,3630170.story