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Antimicrobial properties of honey

R. Carnwath, E. M. Graham, K. Reynolds, P. J. Pollock

HONEY has long been thought to have wound-healing properties and vets often use honey on equine wounds. Manuka honey is thought to be particularly beneficial, although a wide range of both medical grade honeys and non-medical grade honeys intended for human consumption are used in practice. This study aimed to determine the antimicrobial properties of different types of honey on a range of equine wound pathogens.

Samples of 28 types of honey obtained from supermarkets, beekepers and medical grade honey suppliers, as well as one commercial sugar solution, were tested for microbial contamination. Eighteen non-medical grade honey samples were found to be contaminated and therefore only 11 products were included in the final analysis. For each type of honey and the sugar solution, honey-agar solutions were prepared at several different concentrations. A total of 10 bacterial isolates from sources including equine wounds and healthy horses were cultured. The cultures were then added to the honey-agar solutions and incubated for 16 to 24 hours.

Eight of the 11 products were effective against all 10 bacterial isolates tested. Overall, a Scottish heather honey was …

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