"He, too, is extremely deadly in his roles."

Killer Reputation

Got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? An Oscar? An EGOT, even? All very cool.

But not nearly as cool, at least in our humble opinion, as being so badass onscreen that scientists go as far as to name a group of wildly effective, lab-engineered, fungi-killing molecules after you. That's influence.

Meet: "Keanumycins," a new pesticide invented and named by a team of researchers at the Bio Pilot Plant at Germany's Leibniz-HKI, who published a study on the killer biochemical discovery in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The molecules "kill so efficiently that we named them after Keanu Reeves," German researcher Sebastian Götze, lead author of the study, said in a press release, "because he, too, is extremely deadly in his roles."


Keanumycins, crafted from bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas, target a fungal plant pest dubbed Botrytis cinerea, which causes a gray mold rot that destroys harvests.

Botrytis cinerea infects over 200 fruit and vegetable species, and is also one of many problem fungi that have become increasingly resistant to existing chemical pesticides as well as — perhaps most ominously — pharmaceuticals. (Gulp.)

"Many human-pathogenic fungi are now resistant to antimycotics (antifungal) – partly because they are used in large quantities in agricultural fields," Götze added in the statement.

But on that note, the scientists say that this compound has shown promise in destroying the very concerning human-pathogenic fungus Candida albicans, along with a few others. And because it's bacterial rather than chemical, it's believed to be far more environmentally sound, and meanwhile also hasn't shown any risk of harm to plant or human cells.

Basically, right now, it looks like an all-around win.

Next Time, Pedro

It's worth mentioning that Keanu Reeves isn't the first celebrity to have a natural compound, plant, or critter named after him. There is, for example, a parasitic wasp in South Africa dubbed the Conobregma bradpitti, while an entire genus of genderfluid ferns is named after pop icon Lady Gaga.

Of course, it could be argued that "The Last of Us" star Pedro Pascal might have been the best choice here, but we'll let Keanu have this one. But hopefully, considering the very real threat to humanity that pathogenic fungi might pose soon enough, there will be some more environmentally safe, anti-fungal compounds to name in the future.

More on fungi: Global Warming Is Priming Deadly Fungi to Invade Our Warm Bodies

Share This Article