A project studying Western Australian honey for antibacterial properties that could be used in human health products has uncovered some surprising results.
As part of an AgriFutures Australia Honey Bee and Pollination Program supported project, researchers from The University of Western Australia together with the Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products are analysing WA honey as part of a three-year study. The initial findings will be presented at the Bee Industry Council of Western Australia’s (BICWA) 2018 Conference.
UWA lead researcher Dr Kate Hammer said initial analyses of 50 WA honeys had so far found the highest antibacterial activity was in White gum, Jarrah and Marri honeys.
“These results are expected to an extent, especially with Jarrah, as WA has already gained a lot of experience and knowledge with Jarrah honey as a unique product with antibacterial activity,” Dr Hammer said.
“However, what has been incredibly surprising is our investigation of relationships between antibacterial activity and other honey characteristics, such as honey colour or hydrogen peroxide, did not show any significant correlations.
“This means darker honeys are not necessarily more active than lighter coloured honeys.”
Dr Hammer said that even though it is already established that hydrogen peroxide contributes to antibacterial activity, the study found it is not the only factor.
“In our analyses we found there were some honeys with relatively low hydrogen peroxide levels but reasonably high antibacterial activity, so future chemical analyses of these specific honeys will be further investigated,” she said.
The two-day conference, is being held at the Swan Valley Oasis Resort and is proudly sponsored by AgriFutures Australia’s Honey Bee and Pollination Program.
AgriFutures Australia Honey Bee and Pollination Program Manager Melanie Bradley said the state conference was a brilliant opportunity to showcase the robust level of research currently taking place not just in WA’s honey and pollination sectors, but the sector across Australia.
“Our program aims to support research development and extension that will ensure a productive, sustainable and more profitable Australian beekeeping industry, as well as secure the pollination of Australia’s horticultural and agricultural crops,” Ms Bradley said.
“It’s critical work, with the beekeeping industry offering significant value to agriculture and the economy in general pollination services, and as Dr Hammer’s research points to, the potential value of honey and honey products in medical uses.”
Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 6876