NATURE’S PHARMACY

As the torrid internal rivalries of the world’s oldest rainforest have played out longer than any other, so have adaptive strategies developed with ever-increasing potency and as every toxic product provides a protective purpose, no other ecosystem is as likely to reveal such a rich repository of biochemical treasures with therapeutic benefit for a host of outstanding health-related concerns.  As a grand testament to human adaptability, Kuku Yalanji rainforest inhabitants overcame the habitat challenges of this unrivalled toxicity, producing a rich staple of carbohydrate and protein resources and a veritable pharmacology of curative products.

Harvesting from this same rainforest toxicity, bio-prospecting professionals have derived castanospermine, an antiviral alkaloid from the seeds of the Black Bean – Castanospermum australe (A.Cunn.) ex Mudie, which has shown profound inhibitory effects on HIV infection.  Potent anti-cancer derivatives have also been isolated from both Blushwood – Hylandia dockrillii (Airy Shaw) and Pepperwood -Cinnamomum laubatii (F. Muell.).

AMPHIBIAN APOTHECARY

Amongst this highly-refined toxicity, animal cohabitants have also derived proportionately robust immunities, but when it comes to tackling some of the world’s most vexatious infections, the super-antibiotic-producing tree-frogs of this ancient rainforest have provided some of its most powerful remedies.  Skin secretions from the Green-eyed Tree Frog- Litoria serrata (Andersson, 1916) have delivered a wide‐spectrum anti‐microbial peptide, named maculatin, which has shown powerful activity against the clinically infectious Golden Staph bacterium – Staphylococcus aureus (Rosenbach, 1884).  The Australian Green Tree Frog – Litoria caerulea (White, 1790) has also disclosed a peptide from skin secretions, which has been shown to potently inhibit the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  Inhabiting the concentrated morass of decomposing rainforest litter within the world’s oldest rainforest, microhylid frogs, including the Peeping Whistlefrog – Austrochaperina fryi (Zweifel, 1962) and the Elegant Frog – Cophixalus concinnus (Tyler, 1979), abound with defensive defiance and proportionately promising bio-prospecting potential.

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FUNGAL DISCOVERIES

Consuming from the most toxic rainforest and across the longest expanse of time, the ancient kingdom of Fungi holds untold riches of undiscovered importance.  Delving deeper into this kingdom of old, by targetting the longest-surviving fungus, off the oldest-surviving tree and from deep within the world’s oldest-surviving rainforest, should reveal an optimised bounty of therapeutic rewards.  Under the environmental rigours of this ancient rainforest, fungal generics, allied to those from other parts of the world, which have already provided valuable therapeutic advantages, should reveal more highly-evolved potencies in-situ.

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