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PLoS One. 2016 Dec 28;11(12):e0167780. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167780. eCollection 2016.

The Antibacterial Activity of Australian Leptospermum Honey Correlates with Methylglyoxal Levels.

Author information

1
The ithree institute, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
2
University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, QLD, Australia.
3
University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

Most commercially available therapeutic honey is derived from flowering Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) plants from New Zealand. Australia has more than 80 Leptospermum species, and limited research to date has found at least some produce honey with high non-peroxide antibacterial activity (NPA) similar to New Zealand manuka, suggesting Australia may have a ready supply of medical-grade honey. The activity of manuka honey is largely due to the presence of methylglyoxal (MGO), which is produced non-enzymatically from dihydroxyacetone (DHA) present in manuka nectar. The aims of the current study were to chemically quantify the compounds contributing to antibacterial activity in a collection of Australian Leptospermum honeys, to assess the relationship between MGO and NPA in these samples, and to determine whether NPA changes during honey storage. Eighty different Leptospermum honey samples were analysed, and therapeutically useful NPA was seen in samples derived from species including L. liversidgei and L. polygalifolium. Exceptionally high levels of up to 1100 mg/kg MGO were present in L. polygalifolium honey samples sourced from the Northern Rivers region in NSW and Byfield, QLD, with considerable diversity among samples. There was a strong positive relationship between NPA and MGO concentration, and DHA was present in all of the active honey samples, indicating a potential for ongoing conversion to MGO. NPA was stable, with most samples showing little change following seven years of storage in the dark at 4°C. This study demonstrates the potential for Australian Leptospermum honey as a wound care product, and argues for an extension of this analysis to other Leptospermum species.

PMID:
28030589
PMCID:
PMC5193333
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0167780
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have read the journal’s policy and have the following competing interests: EH, DC and PB report grant and non-financial support in the form of honey from Comvita NZ Ltd and Capilano Honey Pty Ltd. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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