MALDI TOF on a leafcutter ant
Matt Hutchings, University of East Anglia and Barrie Wilkinson, John Innes Centre
Scientists at the Norwich Research Park use MALDI-TOF imaging, which is a technique that uses lasers to detect chemicals on the surface of objects. This image shows chemicals (metabolites) on the surface of an Acromyrmex echinatior worker ant that are being produced by bacteria that live on the ants bodies. These actinomycete bacteria are making antibiotics which are used as weed killers by the ants in the cultivation of a symbiotic food fungus. We are analysing these co-evolved actinomycetes at the Norwich Research Park as a potential source of novel antibiotics.