SOIL from an area of Ireland that was previously thought to have healing powers could help in the modern-day fight against superbugs.
The soil, from an area of Co. Fermanagh known as the Boho Highlands, contains a previously unknown strain of bacteria researchers have named Streptomyces sp. myrophorea.
It is believed to be effective against four of the top six superbugs, including MRSA.
Soil from the area has been used in traditional healing practices.
A small amount was wrapped up in cotton cloth and placed under a pillow to help cure ailments such as toothache, throat and neck infections.
According to BBC News NI, such practices can be traced back to the early 1800s and parish priest Reverend James McGirr.
However Phys.org reports that the area was occupied by Druids around 1,500 years ago and Neolithic people 4,000 years ago.
The latest research is being carried out by a team from Swansea University Medical School, which includes Dr Gerry Quinn.
A former resident of Boho, Dr Quinn said he had been aware of the healing traditions of the area for many years.
“The discovery of antimicrobial substances from Streptomyces sp. myrophorea will help in our search for new drugs to treat multi-resistant bacteria, the cause of many dangerous and lethal infections,” he said.
The team’s research has been published in Frontiers in Microbiology.