Synergistic Effect: Definition, Types, and Examples

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Table of Contents

Synergistic Effect Definition

Synergistic effects are when chemical compounds or biological structures combine, resulting in a larger overall impact than the sum of their separate effects. Synergos is a Greek term that meaning “teamwork.”

Synergistic effects are the combined effects of at least two medicines that have a bigger impact than any of them could have on its own.

Synergistic Effect Examples

• The skin damage produced by combined tobacco smoke and UV radiation is greater than the skin damage caused by either tobacco smoke or UV radiation alone.

• Another activity in science class is the “baking soda volcano.” When vinegar and heated soft drinks combine their activities, they produce a highly percolating emission.

• The liver is harmed by both carbon tetrachloride and ethanol (ethyl liquor). When used together, they cause more serious liver damage than the sum of their separate effects on the liver.

• Barbiturate medicines can have more severe effects on the central nervous system (CNS) when combined with general anaesthetics, alcohol (acute intake), narcotic analgesics (pain relievers), and other sedative-hypnotic agents (by causing CNS depression).

• The toxicity of some insecticides, such as pyrethrin (from chrysanthemums) and synthetic pyrethrin’s (pyrethroids), can be greatly enhanced by combining them with non-insecticide chemicals. Sesamin, sesamolin, piperonyl butoxide, MGK-264 (bi-cycloheptene dicarboximide), and sesame too are synergists. The synthetic pyrethroid synergist piperonyl butoxide is likely the most commonly utilised.

• When doctors use ampicillin and gentamicin to treat bacterial heart infections, This is done because the two antimicrobials target different parts of the bacteria, and combining them destroys the tiny organisms faster, allowing for speedier recovery.

• Another example of synergism is the treatment of cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment are routinely administered to cancer patients. They act to halt cancer cell development by focusing on distinct aspects of the replicating process.

Synergy vs Synergism

Synergy is the interplay of biological structures or entities that results in a larger overall influence than the sum of their individual impacts. The impact is so large that it can’t be replicated individually. Synergism is another word for the same thing. In pharmacology, the latter is employed. It describes a situation in which a group of medicines has synergistic effects, increasing their efficacy. Essentially, the word refers to the idea that “the whole is larger than the sum of its parts.”

Synergy in Biology

Synergy is a prevalent occurrence in biology. It comes in a variety of forms. In ecology, for example, it might take the form of symbiosis, which can be achieved by cooperation, parasitism, or other means. In evolutionary biology, it’s also known as coevolution. Synergy is exhibited in the biochemical world as the combined actions of chemicals, such as medicines. Or, in genetic terms, it may be a kind of epistasis. So, let’s look at synergy in these many sectors.

Synergy in Ecology

Cooperation, a kind of symbiosis, is an ecological synergy in which members of a group work together to achieve good results. Ant and bee colonies are a good illustration of this. In their colony, these social insects have various functions and classes. Chemical signals picked up by their antennas are the primary means by which they communicate with one another. Colobopsis explodens, for example, exhibits an intriguing trait known as autothysis. While wrapped around their opponent, these ants will spontaneously burst (thus the name).

This suicidal behaviour is a desperate attempt to protect their nest. Soldier termites will tear their bodies to function as a barricade to tunnels, preventing attackers from entering their nest, which is known as autothysis. Myxococus xanthus, a predatory myxobacterial species, exhibits cooperative behaviour that leads to synergism. M. xanthus is a bacterium that feeds on other bacteria in the soil. Through the soil, they establish a cooperative hunting group (colony).

As they come into contact with bacteria and feed on it, they produce digestive enzymes. They can eat much bigger prey and release considerably more digestive enzymes in colonies than they do individually, which has the drawback of being diffused through the soil.

Pest synergy is defined as the presence of two or more parasites on the same host. As an example, the presence of two different types of parasitic worms would result in synergistic negative effects that are considerably higher than the impacts of each individual parasitic worm. As a result, the effect is proportional to the density. Even in infection, this is visible. The host may or may not display signs of infection if pathogenic bacteria or viruses are present, as the impact of the pathogens’ presence is dependent on the pathogens’ size or population density.

Synergy in Evolution

In Evolutionary Biology, the concept of synergy is used to explain the gradual development of complexity among species through time. The Synergism Hypothesis asserts that synergism provides the functional foundation for the emergence of complex systems in nature, including human civilizations. Certain symbiotic relationships between two or more species are sufficiently strong that they tend to coevolve throughout time. For example, as a result of selection pressures in their environment, the insects and flowers they pollinate coevolve by gaining characteristics that make them more sophisticated than their ancestors.

Synergy in Biochemistry

Certain enzymes working together to produce synergistic effects are an example of synergy at the biomolecular level. Certain hormones, particularly those engaged in positive feedback loops, exhibit this at the cellular level. To trigger labour contractions, oxytocin is generated in small amounts during delivery. Muscle contractions get more intense as more oxytocin is produced, until the neonate is pushed out of the birth canal.

Drug synergism occurs when the effects of two or more distinct types of medicines are increased when they are delivered together in pharmacology. Their combined impacts have a bigger impact than their individual ones. For example, drug A has a 30% impact but medication B only has a 20% effect. Their synergistic effects are 75 percent when combined, which is higher than the total of their independent effects, which is 50 percent.

Synergy Example

• Penicillin and aminoglycosides have a synergistic impact on gram-positive bacteria cell wall disintegration.

• Aspirin and caffeine used together provide more pain relief than when taken separately.

• Probenecid is a medication that prolongs the effects of penicillin by delaying its renal elimination.

Synergy in Toxicology

Toxicological synergy is the study of synthetic chemicals or physical operators that have antagonistic effects on live organisms. Toxicology is commonly defined as “the study of poisons.” People in general and administrative organisations are concerned about toxicologic cooperative energy since synthetic chemicals that are only considered safe when introduced to a mix might cause inappropriate health or biological hazards.

The inclusion of additional chemicals that aren’t insecticides can enhance the toxicity of certain pesticides by many times. Piperonyl butoxide, sesamin, sesamolin, bi-cycloheptene dicarboximide, and sesamex are synergists that increase the insecticidal action of pyrethrin.

Synergy in Genetics

The interaction of genes at two or more loci is referred to as epistasis. They work together to produce the phenotypic manifestation of a different gene. Synergistic epistasis is a kind of epistasis in which the combined effect of two mutations on fitness is higher than what they would have caused individually.

Synergistic Effect Citations


Similar Post:

Leave a Reply