Absence of bacterial resistance to medical-grade manuka honey

  • R. A. CooperEmail author
  • L. Jenkins
  • A. F. M. Henriques
  • R. S. Duggan
  • N. F. Burton


Clinical use of honey in the topical treatment of wounds has increased in Europe and North America since licensed wound care products became available in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Honey-resistant bacteria have not been isolated from wounds, but there is a need to investigate whether honey has the potential to select for honey resistance. Two cultures of bacteria from reference collections (Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 10017 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853) and four cultures isolated from wounds (Escherichia coli, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and S. epidermidis) were exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of manuka honey in continuous and stepwise training experiments to determine whether the susceptibility to honey diminished. Reduced susceptibilities to manuka honey in the test organisms during long-term stepwise resistance training were found, but these changes were not permanent and honey-resistant mutants were not detected. The risk of bacteria acquiring resistance to honey will be low if high concentrations are maintained clinically.


Resistance Training Test Organism Mupirocin Fusidic Acid Manuka Honey 
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This study was supported, in part, by Derma Sciences Inc., Princeton, New Jersey, USA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Cooper
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. Jenkins
    • 1
  • A. F. M. Henriques
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. S. Duggan
    • 1
  • N. F. Burton
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Biomedical Sciences, Department of Applied Sciences, Cardiff School of Health SciencesUniversity of Wales Institute CardiffCardiffUK
  2. 2.Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Group of Molecular MicrobiologyUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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