London: Scientists have claimed that the bacteria found in a traditional Japanese pickle could prevent flu.
The Lactobacillus bugs are found in Suguki, a pickled turnip popular in Japan.
Scientists investigated the immune-boosting powers of the vegetable's bacteria on a group of mice, and were shocked by the results.
Lead researcher Naoko Waki, from the Japanese food company Kagome, said that the results show that when a particular strain of Lactobacillus brevis is eaten by mice, it has protective effects against influenza virus infection.
The researchers believe a protective layer of sugars called exopolysaccharides that protects the bacteria against acid stomach juices, could lie behind its powers.
When the bacteria was introduced to the mice, it increased the production of immune system molecules, including antibodies which stop flu symptoms.