Scientists at a German research institute named a fungus-eradicating bacterial compound after actor Keanu Reeves, star of the movie series “John Wick.”
The compounds called “keanumycins” withered away fungi that were harmful to plants and humans, according to The New York Times. Dr. Pierre Stallforth, a researcher and a professor of paleobiotechnology at Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, spoke about the significance of the compound naming.
“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,” Stallforth said, according to The New York Times.
Researchers named fungus-killing bacterial compounds after Keanu Reeves, saying “keanumycins” proved as devastating to difficult foes as his character John Wick.
“Thanks, scientist people!” the actor said. https://t.co/tzvXwoVmtB
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 8, 2023
Reeves publicly spoke about his name being used in association with this scientific compound during Lionsgate’s question-and-answer forum on Reddit in March.
“They should’ve called it John Wick,” Reeves said.
“But that’s pretty cool … and surreal for me. But thanks, scientist people! Good luck, and thank you for helping us,” Reeves said, according to The New York Times.
Sebastian Götze, the lead author of the study, described the way the compound works and the significance it could have on 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,” he said, according to The New York Post. (RELATED: Jack Daniel’s ‘Whiskey Fungus’ Takes Over Tennessee Town)
“The compounds, which the researchers called ‘keanumycins,’ withered away both fungi harmful to plants and humans with deadly precision.” https://t.co/SwDd4Kpgmi
— Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH (@JenniferNuzzo) March 8, 2023
The authors created a broth of bacteria that produce keanumycin and applied the concoction to a hydrangea plant that was covered in Botrytis cinerea fungus, a fungus that is commonly spread among greenhouse crops. The bacteria filled the fungus with holes which released the plaque from the plant, proving that keanumycins fight plant mold and rot, according to The New York Times.
The study notes this could save harvests and prevent famine, and could also fight Candida albicans, a fungus in the human body that can cause infection when overproduced.
“Resistance against most drugs which are used to treat infectious diseases is spreading throughout the world,” Dr. Götze said.