Research Summary: The Antibacterial Activity of Honey Derived from Australian Flora


Chronic wound infections and antibiotic resistance are driving interest in
antimicrobial treatments that have generally been considered complementary,
including antimicrobially active honey. Australia has unique native flora and
produces honey with a wide range of different physicochemical properties. In
this study we surveyed 477 honey samples, derived from native and exotic plants
from various regions of Australia, for their antibacterial activity using an
established screening protocol. A level of activity considered potentially
therapeutically useful was found in 274 (57%) of the honey samples, with
exceptional activity seen in samples derived from marri (Corymbia
), jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and
jellybush (Leptospermum polygalifolium). In most cases the
antibacterial activity was attributable to hydrogen peroxide produced by the
bee-derived enzyme glucose oxidase. Non-hydrogen peroxide activity was detected
in 80 (16.8%) samples, and was most consistently seen in honey produced
from Leptospermum spp. Testing over time found the hydrogen
peroxide-dependent activity in honey decreased, in some cases by 100%,
and this activity was more stable at 4°C than at 25°C. In contrast, the
non-hydrogen peroxide activity of Leptospermum honey samples
increased, and this was greatest in samples stored at 25°C. The stability of
non-peroxide activity from other honeys was more variable, suggesting this
activity may have a different cause. We conclude that many Australian honeys
have clinical potential, and that further studies into the composition and
stability of their active constituents are warranted.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 28-March-2011

Author(s): Irish J., Blair S., Carter D.


Leave a Reply