Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Natural antibiotic properties of honey

In honey there are different natural antibacterial substances, or so called inhibines. One of them, hydrogen peroxide, was thought to be the most important one. However, our studies show, that there are different non-peroxide antibacterial substances. Contrary to the peroxide inhibines, they are not sensitive towards heat , light and storage. The antibacterial effect of honey is optimal, when it is stored in a cool, dark place and when it is consumed in fresh condition. The non-peroxide inhibines originate partly in the honey plants. However, the main part of the antibacterial agents is added by the bees. Four honey fractions were tested for antibacterial activity: acids, bases, lipophylic, non-volatile and volatile. The main antibacterial fraction was the acidic one, with 45 % of the total activity. Future research should elucidate the chemical nature of these antibacterial substances.

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