Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Honey and wound infections: the latest buzz!

Honey has been used for a millenia for treating superficial infections, and modern scientist have shown that constituents within Manuka honey are actively bactericidal - they actually kill germs. Now they've found that not only can this honey kill certain antibiotic resistant bacteria, it can also stop them from getting a foothold in a wound in the first place.

This is how they think it works: when a cell gets damaged it releases a protein onto its surface called Fibronectin. Opportunistic bacteria called S. Pyogenes spot the protein and are able to "bind onto" it initiating an infection. S Pyogenes is also very good at forming a "Bio-film" which acts as a physical barrier to the circulating antibiotics: plus they are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics anyway. Manuka Honey decreases the host cells ability to express Fibronectin on the surface and so the bacteria have nothing to hang onto and thus goodbye biofilm. The researchers at Cardiff have shown that even a small trace of the honey can kill over 85% of S Pyogenes within 2 hours in a petri dish.

It is reported that Manuka honey inhibits the growth of over 80 strains of bacteria in an age of increasing drug resistance, and infected wounds globally cause a massive amount of disability and even death.

But all is not happiness in the Bee world. Manuka honey is only found in New Zealand and parts of Australia. In my home state of W Australia we are proud of our Karri honey which is also rich in the active ingredients found in its Manuka cousin. But bees world wide are under threat, not only from viruses and mites that have been devastating hives internationally, but also in Europe with the potential restriction of harvesting honey from crops that have been genetically modified.

But European apiarists are trying to take the sting out of the situation by a novel manoeuver. They are taking their hives into the cities and setting them up on the roofs of museums and opera houses. Industrial sprays are not permitted within city limits, and parks are full of flowers in spring: so now we have chemicals in the country and "farming" in the cities ..... isn't life interesting!
Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.


Mariodacatsmom said...

ha ha - I'l laughing over your last comment - farming in the city!! This is somewhat of a sad article today - sad because of what is happening to bees. Bee population is really down in the US also. Would love to get my hands on some of that special honey. Sometimes I think we should go back to letting Mother Nature create all the drugs we need like she used to before interference of man.

Lucy Chen said...

That's indeed "interesting". Moving the bees to the city...