The frogs, which smell like rotten fish in some cases, produce the greatest known variety of anti-bacterial substances, the American Chemical Society reported Wednesday.
Research published in the ACS Journal of Proteome Research said frogs live in warm, wet places where bacteria thrive and have adapted skin that secretes chemicals, known as peptides, to protect themselves from infections.
A team led by Yun Zhang in China identified more than 700 anti-microbial peptides from nine species of odorous frogs. The researchers said some of the AMPs kill bacteria directly and activate the immune system to assist in the battle, ACS said.
The research was supported by funding from the National Basic Research Program of China and The National Natural Science Foundation of China.