LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana (KPLC) -- In the bayous of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas, researchers have discovered a potential medicinal breakthrough from alligators.
Alligator blood is showing to be a potent antibiotic in lab testing at McNeese State University.
These keepers of the bayou are known for their tenacity, but behind the alligator's piercing eyes and sharp teeth is an immune system that is as ferocious as the primitive creature.
"They've really put a lot of selective pressure on themselves to develop this tremendous immune system that we've been studying the past 10 or 12 years," said MSU biochemistry professor, Dr. Mark Merchant.
Merchant handles gators like they are his own children. He has been bitten, scarred - but never deterred in his quest to prove what it is that makes gators survive and thrive, even in bacteria and fungi-filled environments.
"I've seen alligators with huge, huge injuries - missing limbs, missing big parts of their tail ... apparently healthy," said Merchant.