Monday, March 19, 2012
News Medical, March 15, 2012
The stomachs of wild honey bees are full of healthy lactic acid bacteria that can fight bacterial infections in both bees and humans. A collaboration between researchers at three universities in Sweden ¬- Lund University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Karolinska Institutet - has produced findings that could be a step towards solving the problems of both bee deaths and antibiotic resistance.
The researchers have now published their results in the scientific journal PloS ONE and the legendary science photographer Professor Lennart Nilsson from Karolinska Institutet has illustrated the findings with his unique images.
Today, many people eat healthy lactic acid bacteria that are added to foods such as yogurt.
"In our previous studies, we have looked at honey bees in Sweden. What we have now found from our international studies is that, historically, people of all cultures have consumed the world's greatest natural blend of healthy bacteria in the form of honey", says Alejandra Vasquez, a researcher at Lund University.
In wild and fresh honey, which honey hunters collect from bees' nests in high cliffs and trees, there are billions of healthy lactic acid bacteria of 13 different types. This is in comparison with the 1-3 different types found in commercial probiotic products, she explains.
The honey bees have used these bacteria for 80 million years to produce and protect their honey and their bee bread (bee pollen), which they produce to feed the entire bee colony. The researchers have now also shown that the healthy lactic acid bacteria combat the two most serious bacterial diseases to affect honey bees…
"As humans have learnt to use honey to treat sore throats, colds and wounds, our hypothesis is that the healthy bee bacteria can also kill harmful disease bacteria in humans. We have preliminary, unpublished results which show that this could be a new tool to complement or even replace antibiotics", says Alejandra Vasquez…