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article imageBee bacteria make for antibiotic alternatives

By Tim Sandle     Sep 9, 2014 in Science
Lund - A new study has shown that certain types of bacteria extracted from the stomachs of honeybees could be promising targets as antibiotics against pathogenic bacteria like MRSA.
The new research has looked at thirteen lactic acid bacteria found in the stomach of bees. The bacteria seem to be able to slowdown the growth of antibiotic-resistant MRSA. In studies, the bacteria, when mixed into honey, were able to heal horses with persistent wounds. Furthermore, the bacteria were assessed against severe human wound pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE).
The study infers that the thirteen different lactic acid bacteria produce the right kind of antimicrobial compounds needed to keep a range of pathogens at bay.
The basis for the research goes deep into history, where honey has been used to heal infections. The research suggests that it is the bacteria in the honey that provide the healing properties. More recent laboratory investigations have found that medical-grade manuka honey, also known as Medihoney, improves the effectiveness of antibiotics. This honey comes uniquely from honey produced by bees from the flower of the manuka plant in New Zealand. The active ingredient in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG), a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.
The next stage of the research is to undertake further studies to investigate wider clinical use against topical human infections as well as on animals.
The research was undertaken at the Lund University in Sweden. The findings have been published in the International Wound Journal. The paper is headed “Lactic acid bacterial symbionts in honeybees - an unknown key to honey's antimicrobial and therapeutic activities”.
More about Bees, Honey, lactobacillus, Antibiotics, manuka honey
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