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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2016 Mar;62(3):269-76. doi: 10.1111/lam.12541. Epub 2016 Feb 2.

Activity of Polish unifloral honeys against pathogenic bacteria and its correlation with colour, phenolic content, antioxidant capacity and other parameters.

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Department of Pharmacognosy, Wrocław Medical University, Wrocław, Poland.
Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Gdańsk University of Technology, Gdańsk, Poland.
Deptartment of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry & Technology, University of Split, Split, Croatia.
Department of Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.


The use of honey as an antimicrobial agent gains importance due to often ineffectiveness of conventional treatment. However, activity of honey depends mainly on its botanical and geographical origin. To date, antimicrobial potential of Polish honeys has not yet been entirely investigated. In this study, 37 unifloral samples of 14 honey types (including rare varieties) from Poland were analysed and compared with manuka honey. The most active were cornflower, thyme and buckwheat honeys. Their MICs ranged from 3·12 to 25·00%, (depending on tested micro-organism) and often were lower than for manuka honey. Additionally, colour, antioxidant activity, total phenols, pH and conductivity were assessed and significant correlations (P < 0·05) of MICs with several parameters were found. The most active were darker honeys, with strong yellow colour component, rich in phenolics, with high conductivity and water content. The honey antibacterial properties depended mainly on peroxide mechanism and were vulnerable to excessive heating, but quite stable during storage in cold. A number of honey samples showed potential as effective antimicrobial agents. The observed correlations of MICs and physical-chemical parameters help to understand better the factors impacting the antibacterial activity.


Honey is a promising agent in the treatment of non-healing infected wounds. Thirty-seven unifloral samples of 14 honey varieties from Poland were analysed for their antimicrobial activity and compared with manuka honey. Several honey types exert even higher antimicrobial potential and could be introduced to wound therapy. Additionally, positive correlations of the antimicrobial activity were found, especially with yellow colour and could be important in the search and screening of the honey active against Escherichia coli.


antimicrobial activity; colour; conductivity; honey; pathogenic bacteria; phenolics

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