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Absence of bacterial resistance to medical-grade manuka honey


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.

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This study was supported, in part, by Derma Sciences Inc., Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

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Correspondence to R. A. Cooper.

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Cooper, R.A., Jenkins, L., Henriques, A.F.M. et al. Absence of bacterial resistance to medical-grade manuka honey. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 29, 1237–1241 (2010).

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  • Resistance Training
  • Test Organism
  • Mupirocin
  • Fusidic Acid
  • Manuka Honey