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The sterilization of honey with cobalt 60 gamma radiation: a study of honey spiked with spores ofClostridium botulinum andBacillus subtilis

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Unprocessed honey is a recognized wound-healing remedy. However, to make clinical use of honey acceptable, it should be sterile. To find the lowest dose of irradiation needed for sterilization, six batches of honey (a−f) were gamma irradiated with 6, 12, 18, 22 and 25 kGy Cobalt-60. After a dose of 25 kGy the antibacterial activity was not altered. Presumably glucose oxidase (EC, which produces hydrogen peroxide, is not easily damaged by irradiation. Amylase activity on the other hand was significantly reduced to 19%, 19%, 21%, 22%, 43% in batchesa), b), c), d) andf) respectively, whereas no decrease was observed in batche). All batches spiked with approximately 106 spores fromCl. botulinum orB. subtilis per 50 g honey proved to be sterile after irradiation with a dose of 25 kGy. Honey was also spiked withCl. botulinum at up to 5000 spores per 50 g honey which is the upper limit of natural contamination. The sterilizing dose in this case was 18 kGy.

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Postmes, T., van den Bogaard, A.E. & Hazen, M. The sterilization of honey with cobalt 60 gamma radiation: a study of honey spiked with spores ofClostridium botulinum andBacillus subtilis. Experientia 51, 986–989 (1995).

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