According to a recent study, soil found in Northern Ireland harbors a previously unknown strain of bacteria that effectively kills four of the top six antibiotic-resistant superbugs, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
An international team of researchers discovered the bacterial strain, which they call Streptomyces sp. myrophorea, in soil samples from an area in Northern Ireland known for its alkaline grassland. Their study appears in the Oct. 16, 2018, issue of Frontiers in Microbiology. The discovery could help in the development of new treatments for multidrug-resistant bacteria, the researchers said.
Folk medicine practitioners have long held that the soil in the region has healing properties. They would wrap a small amount of the soil in cotton cloth and use it to treat ailments such as toothaches and throat and neck infections.
The World Health Organization lists antibiotic superbugs as one of the biggest threats to current global health, food security, and development.
“It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem might lie in the wisdom of the past,” researcher Gerry Quinn said in a statement. —J.B.