Manuka honey has long been said to have unique properties manuka honey can help heal a huge range of conditions from stomach ulcers to infections, as well as increasing your energy levels and general well-being. And new research has discovered the compound that is responsible for the antibacterial ingredient in honey.

Honey gives up healthy secret

NZ Herald Saturday Apr 18, 2009

 

Mature manuka honey. Photo / Martin Sykes

Mature manuka honey. Photo / Martin Sykes

 

Waikato University researchers have discovered a compound in the nectar of manuka trees which converts to the antibacterial ingredient that active manuka honey is known for.

“We have known for some time that the unique antibacterial activity of manuka honey is associated with the presence of methylglyoxal, or MGO,” Associate Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris said.

“But until now the origin of methylglyoxal was not known. It’s well-known among beekeepers that the MGO increases with storage, but there was no research to underpin this belief.”

A test to predict the potential for a drum of honey to develop antibacterial activity during storage has been patented by the university’s commercialisation arm, WaikatoLink, and would be made available to industry.

“Storage is money for a lot of producers,” Dr Manley-Harris said.

“With this test they can immediately tell if that batch of honey is going to mature into active manuka honey – if it’s not going to become active, they may as well sell it as table honey.”…

 The research from Waikato’s chemistry department showed dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is present in young honeys shortly after bees deposit it in the comb. As the honey ripens, the DHA converts to MGO, the component which gives the manuka honey its antibacterial activity. … end of excerpt. Read whole article here.

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Warning: It is said that honey should not be served up to babies and infants because of the risk of infant botulism. See these links: why-shouldnt-infants-eat-honey.htm; Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Baby Honey; Foods Babies Shouldn’t Eat