How manuka honey helps fight infection

Sep 07, 2009

Manuka honey may kill bacteria by destroying key bacterial proteins. Dr Rowena Jenkins and colleagues from the University of Wales Institute - Cardiff investigated the mechanisms of manuka honey action and found that its anti-bacterial properties were not due solely to the sugars present in the honey. The work was presented this week (7-10 September), at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus () was grown in the laboratory and treated with and without manuka honey for four hours. The experiment was repeated with sugar syrup to determine if the effects seen were due to sugar content in honey alone. The bacterial cells were then broken and the proteins isolated and separated on a system that displayed each protein as an individual spot.

Many fewer proteins were seen from the manuka honey-treated MRSA cells and one particular protein, FabI, seemed to be completely missing. FabI is a that is needed for fatty acid biosynthesis. This essential process supplies the bacteria with precursors for important cellular components such as lipopolysaccarides and its cell wall. The absence of these proteins in honey-treated cells could help explain the mode of action of manuka honey in killing MRSA.

"Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time," said Dr Jenkins, "But the way in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how manuka inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics".

Source: Society for General Microbiology

Explore further: Life's extremists may be an untapped source of antibacterial drugs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Honey helps problem wounds

Jul 27, 2006

A household remedy millennia old is being reinstated: honey helps the treatment of some wounds better than the most modern antibiotics. For several years now medical experts from the University of Bonn have been clocking ...

Recommended for you

Cohesin molecule safeguards cell division

Nov 21, 2014

The cohesin molecule ensures the proper distribution of DNA during cell division. Scientists at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna can now prove the concept of its carabiner-like ...

Nail stem cells prove more versatile than press ons

Nov 21, 2014

There are plenty of body parts that don't grow back when you lose them. Nails are an exception, and a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals some of the r ...

Scientists develop 3-D model of regulator protein bax

Nov 21, 2014

Scientists at Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Tubingen, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) provide a new 3D model of the protein Bax, a key regulator of cell death. When active, Bax ...

Researchers unwind the mysteries of the cellular clock

Nov 20, 2014

Human existence is basically circadian. Most of us wake in the morning, sleep in the evening, and eat in between. Body temperature, metabolism, and hormone levels all fluctuate throughout the day, and it ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.