Tirupati: A popular belief and practice of tribals in Odisha to eat Red Weaver Ants assuming that it will cure several diseases has been proven correct scientifically.
In their paper presented at the Indian Science Congress, researchers of Northern Orissa University said the ant can kill eight human pathogens.
Ms Sushree Sudha Das, a researcher of the university, said, “We have studied the anti-microbial properties of red weaver ant. We have identified that they effectively work against eight human pathogens, including the dysentery causing Shigella dysenteriae and harmful forms of E.Coli.”
The tribals of Odisha and Jharkhand eat the Red Weaver Ants either cooked or raw sometimes making it sauce or chutney believing that it boosts their immunity and acts as a medicine. The Tribals also collect the red ants and sell them in the local market.
In a similar study conducted earlier by the department of computational biology and bioinformatics in University of Kerala, researchers found that gastric secretions from Asian Red Weaver Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) has antibacterial action.
Research published in Journal of Entomological Research found “excellent antibacterial activity against cholera causing vibrio cholerae, bacillus subtilis (non-pathogenic) and staphylococcus epidermidis (accidental pathogen-infections associates with medical devices)....