Centipedes live and hunt in decaying organic matter, a substrate teeming with bacteria, fungi and other potentially harmful microorganisms. The Brazilian centipede, Scolopendra viridicornis is known to have medicinal properties. The centipedes are dried and the powder used for a variety of treatments.
Chaparro and da Silva* investigated Scolopendra viridicornis extracts and identified a novel peptide, lacrain. Interesting properties include antibiotic activity against gram negative bacteria only. Lacrain had no effect on human erythrocytes making it a candidate or lead chemical for medical uses as a bactericide. Centipedes are an under explored group that may yield new biomaterials of economic and medical importance.
* E. Chaparro & P.I. da Silva Junior. Lacrain: the first antimicrobial peptide from the body extract of the Brazilian centipede Scolopendra viridicornis. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.