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A comparison of the antibacterial activities of some New Zealand honeys

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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 27 (4) pp. 252-256 
December 1988
Article Title

A comparison of the antibacterial activities of some New Zealand honeys


P. C. Molan, M. Smith And G. M. Reid


There is increasing interest in the use of honey for the treatment of bacterial infections. Because of the variation known to occur between different honeys in the strength of antibacterial activity, it is important to choose the right type of honey for medicinal use. A range of New Zealand monofloral honeys was assayed to compare their antibacterial activity. Solutions of each honey, at concentrations 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 of the original, were tested in an agar well, diffusion assay against Staphylococcus aureus. Highly significant differences in activity were found between the honeys. Some inconsistencies were seen in the results, possibly owing to the inaccuracy of identification of the honeys (pollen analysis was not carried out). However, the more active honeys in general, were kanuka, manuka, and penny royal. Nodding thistle, kamahi and buttercup honeys had lower activity. The honeys with lowest activity were found to be rewa-rewa, clover, heather, tawari, rata, towai, thyme and blue borage. Firm conclusions could not be drawn on the relative activity of most of the types of honey because of the small number of samples obtained from each type. However the activity of manuka honey was significantly higher than that of clover and heather/ling honey.


Honey, antibacterial activity, monofloral honey, New Zealand

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