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Anti-Microbial Activity and Composition of Manuka and Portobello Honey


Correspondence to: Lorna Fyfe, Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland.



Recently renewed interest in the therapeutic properties of honey has led to the search for new antimicrobial honeys. This study was undertaken to assess the antimicrobial activity and composition of a locally produced Portobello honey (PBH) on three bacteria known to infect wounds. Manuka honey (MH) was used for comparative purposes. Broth culture and agar disc diffusion assays were used to investigate the antimicrobial properties of honey. The honeys were tested at four concentrations: 75%, 50%, 10% and 1% (v/v) and compared with an untreated control. The composition of honey was determined by measuring: polyphenol content by Folin Ciocalteau method, antioxidant capacity by ferric ion reducing power assay, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) by catalase test, pH and sugar content by pH strips and refractometer, respectively. Both honeys at 75% and 50% inhibited the majority of the three bacteria tested. 10% PBH exhibited antimicrobial activity to the lesser extent than 10% MH. The difference was very significant (p ≤ 0.001). Both honeys were acidic with pH 4, and both produced H2O2. The sugar content of PBH was higher than MH, but the difference was not significant. The MH had significantly higher levels of the polyphenols and antioxidant activity than PBH. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.