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Manuka honey targets pseudomonas aeroginosa, the leading cause of hospital infections

Manuka honey targets pseudomonas aeroginosa

Pseudomonas aeroginosa bacterium is linked with infections acquired in the hospitals, which can be life threatening. According to medscape it can involve the following parts of the body: respiratory tract, bloodstream, ear, eye, bones and joints, GI tract, urinary tract and skin. The CDC reports that an estimated 51,000 healthcare-associated P. aeroginosa infections occur in the United States each year. So, here is how Manuka honey targets pseudomonas aeroginosa.


To understand how Manuka Honey targets pseudomonas aeroginosa, we need to go through the process of survival of this this bacterium inside the human body

Bacteria needs iron to survive. So, limiting the concentration of free extracellular iron is a strategy of host defense against pathogenic microorganisms that is practiced by many animal species. Humans accomplish this by binding extracellular iron to the iron-chelating proteins transferrin and lactoferrin. However, pseudonoma aeroginosa produces its own molecule, which binds and transports iron in microorganisms called siderophores named in this case: pyoverdin and pyochelin. This is done for high-affinity iron uptake, which compromises the effectiveness of the iron limitation approach to host defence.

Manuka Honey has already been scientifically proven to be an extremely efficient natural antibacterial. So, a study was designed to determine whether manuka honey would have any effect pseudomonas aeroginosa’s siderophore production. Three strains of pseudomonas aeroginosa were used, and they were exposed to Sterile (gamma irradiated) medical grade manuka honey , supplied as a standardized, 100% pure honey derived from the Leptospermum scoparium plant in New Zealand.

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The results were promising with Manuka Honey effectively inhibiting siderophore production by all three strains of P. aeruginosa used in this study. This suggests that the way Manuka honey targets pseudomonas aeroginosa is by having an impact on bacterial iron homoeostasis.

Another research to investigate the metabolic response of P. aeruginosa biofilms to different concentrations of honey, used unpasteurized commercially available Manuka honey consisting of a blend of Australian and New Zealand honey from bees feeding on Leptospermum scoparium plants, was used and compared to clover and artificial honey. Scientists obsereved that P. aeruginosa biofilm exposure to 30% honey caused an immediate decrease in CO2 production to around 33% of pre-exposure levels with a concomitant decrease in pyoverdine secretion. The inability of P. aeruginosa cells to multiply, while being exposed to 30% honey, was confirmed when planktonically grown P. aeruginosa PAO1 was exposed to 30% (w/v) or higher concentration of honey on agar plates.

It is important to add that not only Manuka honey has been tested against P. aeruginosa. Scientists from Mount Carmel College in India, tested three types of Indian honeys : (1) Acacia (AH); an unifloral honey derived from the plant Acacia , (2) Forest (FH); a multifloral honey derived from the Himalayan forest , (3) Neem (NH); an unifloral honey harvested from the Neem tree. In this case, researchers found that while all honey types had powerful anti-bacterial activity, acacia honey showed the maximum inhibitory effect at 50% dilution.

Other natural ways that have been reported to combat pseudonym aeroginosa infections is by using white vinegar to heal wounds, as well as castor oil plant extracts, and copper. Lemon juice and lemon derivatives have also been proven to target pseudomonas aeroginosa bacterium.