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That Time People Put Frogs in Unrefrigerated Milk to Keep it From Spoiling

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For centuries, before refrigeration, an old Russian practice was to drop a frog into a bucket of milk to keep the milk from spoiling. In modern times, many believed that this was nothing more than an old wives’ tale. But researchers at Moscow State University, led by organic chemist Dr. Albert Lebedev, have shown that there could be some benefit to doing this, though of course in the end you’ll be drinking milk that a frog was in.

image/text credit: Today I Found Out 

Despite the prevalence of ice in parts of Russia, in certain small rural Russian villages many didn’t have access to ice boxes, so they had to find ways to keep things cold and unspoiled. A practice developed, that continued into the 20th century, as described by Dr. Lebedev from memories from his childhood,For small portions of milk to drink, they used to put a frog inside…read more(todayifoundout).

A small frog over there could prevent the milk from being spoiled.This rather curious practice was an inspiration for a study and, then, a discovery that may lead to a significant new source of antibiotics.

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In 2010, scientists from United Arab Emirates University made an announcement that the secretions from certain frogs’ skins have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Using species native to African countries, they studied the compounds coming from the frogs, which are known as antimicrobial peptides and are a string of amino acids.