Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey and its components: An overview

Matthew Johnston, Michael McBride, Divakar Dahiya, Richard K Owusu, Poonam Singh - Nee Nigam

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The importance of honey for medicinal purposes is well documented in some of the world’s oldest literature. Honey is well known and studied for its antimicrobial properties. The medicinal properties in honey originate from the floral source used by bees. Manuka honey is a dark mono-floral honey rich in phenolic content, and currently it is gaining much attention for its antimicrobial activity. Researchers have found that honey is effective against a wide range of pathogens. The antibacterial potency of Manuka honey was found to be related to the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating, which is correlated with the methylglyoxal and total phenols content. It is reported that different types of Manuka honey have differing effects and Gram-negative bacteria are more resistant than Gram-positive bacteria. Bacterial resistance to honey as antimicrobial agent has yet to be identified, possibly due to the presence of a complex mixture of methylglyoxal and other components. Honey is also reported to alter a bacterium’s shape and size through septal ring alteration, which affects cell morphology and growth. Research has shown that Manuka honey of different UMF values has medicinal properties of interest and it can be beneficial when used as a combination treatment with other antimicrobial agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-664
Number of pages10
JournalAIMS Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 Nov 2018


  • Manuka honey
  • infection
  • bacterial resistance
  • methylglyoxal
  • UMF


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