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Honey to lead fight against superbugs

A type of honey used for centuries to treat wounds may be the ultimate weapon against drug-resistant bacteria, research suggests.

Manuka honey fights three types of bacteria that commonly infect wounds, including the notorious MRSA "superbug".

The honey prevents microbial growth in unusual ways and may even be able to reverse resistance to antibiotics, say scientists.

Remedies containing honey were used to treat wounds by many ancient civilisations.

Bees produce manuka honey from the nectar of the manuka tree in New Zealand.

Experts have recognised the value of this type of honey, leading to its inclusion in many modern wound-care products. The secrets of its healing powers are still largely unknown.

A team led by Professor Rose Cooper, from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, found that manuka honey prevented the attachment of bacteria to tissues -- an essential step in the infection process.

Prof Cooper said: "Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics."