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Biotech

Ancient Nubians Drank Antibiotic-Laced Beer 249

eldavojohn writes "A new analysis of millennia old mummy bones (abstract; full article is paywalled) shows high concentrations of tetracycline, which indicates empirical knowledge and use of antibiotics — most likely consumed in beer. The researchers traced the source of the antibiotics to the soil bacteria streptomyces present in the grain used to ferment the beer. Astonishingly enough, 'Even the tibia and skull belonging to a 4-year-old were full of tetracycline, suggesting that they were giving high doses to the child to try and cure him of illness.' The extent of saturation in the bones leads the scientists to assert that the population regularly consumed tetracycline antibiotics knowing that it would cure certain sicknesses."

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