Planta Med, 2012 Nov 16
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in antibacterial honey for wound care ranging from minor abrasions and burns to leg ulcers and surgical wounds. On the other hand, several recent studies demonstrated that honey for human consumption was contaminated with natural occurring, plant derived pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
1,2-Unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids are a group of secondary plant metabolites that show developmental, hepato-, and geno-toxicity as well as carcinogenic effects in animal models and in in vitro test systems. Hence, it was of particular interest to analyze the pyrrolizidine alkaloid content of medical honeys intended for wound care.
19 different medical honey samples and/or batches were analyzed by applying a recently established pyrrolizidine alkaloid sum parameter method. 1,2-Unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids were converted into the common necin backbone structures and were analyzed and quantified by GC-MS in the selected ion monitoring mode.
All but one medical honey analyzed were pyrrolizidine alkaloid positive. The results ranged from 10.6 µg retronecine equivalents per kg to 494.5 µg retronecine equivalents/kg medical honey. The average pyrrolizidine alkaloid content of all positive samples was 83.6 µg retronecine equivalents/kg medical honey (average of all samples was 79.3 µg retronecine equivalents/kg medical honey). The limit of detection was 2.0 µg retronecine equivalents/kg medical honey, while the limit of quantification was 6.0 µg retronecine equivalents/kg medical honey (S/N > 7/1).
Based on the data presented here and considering the fact that medical honeys can be applied to open wounds, it seems reasonable to discuss the monitoring of 1,2-unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids in honey intended for wound treatment.