BOSTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Frog skins contain natural secretions that could lead to new antibiotics to fight infections that have become resistant to existing drugs, researchers say.
Scientists told a meeting of the American Chemical Society that more than 100 antibiotic substances were found in the skin of frog species gathered from around the world, a society release said Thursday.
One was found to be effective against "Iraqibacter," the bacterium responsible for drug-resistant infections in wounded soldiers returning from Iraq, researchers said.
Drug-resistant bacteria, which have developed the ability to resist conventional antibiotics, are growing problems worldwide and patients need new drugs to replace treatments that no longer work, one researcher said.
"Frog skin is an excellent potential source of such antibiotic agents," Michael Conlon, a biochemist at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi Emirate, said.
"They've been around 300 million years, so they've had plenty of time to learn how to defend themselves against disease-causing microbes in the environment," he said.
"Their own environment includes polluted waterways where strong defenses against pathogens are a must."
Scientists are testing skin secretions from more than 6,000 species of frogs for antibiotic activity.
They say they have purified and determined the chemical structure of about 200, leaving a potential treasure trove of antibiotic substances awaiting discovery.