London: Potatoes contain unique antibacterial molecules that can treat stomach ulcers, according to scientists at Manchester University. Members of the university's microbiology team now hope the substance, dubbed 'potato juice' could go into production as a daily diet supplement.

Uniquely, unlike with antibiotics, the stomach bacteria cannot develop resistance to the 'potato juice', which also does not cause any side-effects, the Daily Mail reported.

Scientists at the university even carried out the test on different types of potatoes - discovering Maris Piper and King Edward varieties worked the best.

Inspiration came as one of the department's scientists tucked into a spud for Sunday lunch. It led to the discovery of a key molecule, which could both cure and prevent the bacteria that lives in the stomach and causes stomach ulcers and heartburn.

"One of our scientists was having Sunday lunch when her boyfriend's grandma said they used to use potatoes to cure stomach ulcers," said Ian Roberts, professor of microbiology at the Faculty of Life Sciences, who worked on the discovery.

"Afterwards she went and bought a bag of King Edwards from a shop on Curry Mile and started testing them in the lab.

"We see this 'potato juice' as a preventative measure to stop stomach ulcers developing that people would take as part of a healthy lifestyle. It could be a huge market if we can get it developed," he added.

The process to extract the as yet unnamed molecule has now been patented, with hopes it could one day be sold as a supplement similar to probiotic yoghurt drinks.

(Agencies)

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