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Research into Western Australian honeys

Posted on September 14 2020

Manning, R J. (2011), Research into Western Australian honeys. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western
Australia, Perth. Report.

Honey is a highly complex mixture of at least 200 phytochemicals whose composition is strictly dependent on floral and geographical origin (Beretta et al. (2005). The antimicrobial activity of honey is due to its osmotic effect, acidity and the presence of hydrogen peroxide (Molan 1992) which can vary markedly between samples (Molan et al. 1988; Garcia et al. 2000; Brady et al. 2004). The hydrogen peroxide activity can be measured, and is now important in grading the activity of the honey in qualitative terms for the pharmaceutical-medical market, specifically in wound care and for skin infections.
Hydrogen peroxide presence in honey is derived from the enzymatic activity of glucose oxidase. The source of glucose oxidase found in honey can originate from the honey bees’ hypopharyngeal glands that are located within its head (Gauhe 1941, cited in Weston 2000) or from the nectar of the flower (Carter and Thornburg 2004).
Hydrogen peroxide is found in varying concentrations in honeys (Allen et al. 1991) and is produced optimally when honey is diluted to concentrations between 30 – 50% (v/v) (Bang et al. 2003). However, results from a number of surveys can show samples of honey with little or no antimicrobial activity (Allen et al. 1991; Brady et al. 2004).