Honey could be the key in the battle against anti­biotic resistance, experts have said.

Scientists said that honey has a combination of weapons to beat infection including hydrogen peroxide, acidity, high sugar concentration and polyphenols - all of which actively kill bacterial cells.

It also has the "osmotic effect", which means it draws water from bacterial cells which dehydrates and kills them.

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Dr Susan Meschwitz, assistant professor in chemistry at Salve Regina University in the US, said: "The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels."

She will tell the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, Texas, that a large number of studies have confirmed the antimicrobial properties of the natural sweetener.