10 Weirdest Sources for Antibiotics

Cockroach Brains
Imagine, crushed brains from these disgusting creatures can be used for antibiotics. iStock/Thinkstock

You might think that cockroaches are nasty little creatures, but eventually they may help to protect you against some even nastier illnesses. In a study released in 2010, researchers from Great Britain's University of Nottingham reported that they had used an extract of crushed cockroach and locust brains to kill several different microbes, including a strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) known for causing bacterial meningitis, a potentially lethal brain infection, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) [source: Svalavitz].

The extract's effectiveness against MRSA was particularly good news, because the so-called "superbug" is resistant to most existing antibiotics. According to the study's co-author, Naveed Khan, he and his colleagues got the idea to study the insects because they wondered how they coped with all the bacteria and parasites found in their usual habitat of sewage-filled drains [source: Svalavitz].