Front. Microbio, 22 November 2012
A commentary on re-examining the role of hydrogen peroxide in bacteriostatic and bactericidal activities of honey by Brudzynski, K., Abubaker, K., St-Martin, L., and Castle, A.
In the trend of the use of antimicrobial compounds from natural and renewable resources, natural antimicrobial compounds, particularly found in food and with potential biomedical applications, are of highest interest. In this context, the contribution by Brudzynski et al. to our special issue on “antimicrobial compounds from natural sources” deserves a special attention not only for giving insights into the natural antimicrobial components present in the honey, but also for exploiting their potential mechanism of action.
The antibacterial properties of honey have been well documented. The hydrogen peroxide has been described as the main compound responsible by the antibacterial activity of honeys. The hydrogen peroxide is a potent antimicrobial agent, produced mainly during glucose oxidation catalyzed by the action of the bee enzyme, glucose oxidase, which is introduced into honey during nectar harvesting by bees. The hydrogen peroxide concentration in honey is determined by the rate of its production by glucose oxidase and its destruction by catalases. Thus, the hydrogen peroxide levels in different honeys may differ considerably from honey to honey. In this study the authors re-examined the role of the hydrogen peroxide as component responsible for the antibacterial activity in honey.
The correlation between the endogenous hydrogen peroxide concentration and the inhibitory activity of bacterial growth by honey is well established. Indeed, honeys with a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide have higher antibacterial activity. However, honey is a complex chemical milieu composed of over 100 different compounds (including antioxidants and traces of transition metals), which can interact with the hydrogen peroxide, affecting the oxidizing activity of the honey. Consequently, this interaction may result in increase or decrease of the antimicrobial activity of honey.
Hydrogen peroxide alone is commonly used as disinfectant compound in medical equipment in hospitals. For disinfection of these materials high concentrations of H2O2 are used (0.8–8 M) and H2O2 antimicrobial activity has been verified against several medical important bacteria species, including Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., Pseudomonas spp. and Bacillus spores. The bactericide activity of hydrogen peroxide is related to the accumulation of irreversible oxidative damages to the membrane, proteins, enzymes, and DNA…