Microbiology. 2016 Aug 9
The antimicrobial power of honey seems to be ascribable to several factors, including oxidative and osmotic stress. The aim of this study was to find genetic determinants involved in the response to honey stress in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, chosen as model microorganism.
A library of transposon mutants of P. aeruginosa PAO1 was constructed and only four mutants unable to grow in presence of fir honeydew honey were selected. All four mutants were impaired in the major H2O2-scavenging enzyme catalase A (Kat A). The knock-out of katA gene caused sensitivity, as expected, to hydrogen peroxide, but also to different types of honey including Manuka GMO 220 honey. Genetic complementation, as well as the addition of PAO1 supernatant containing extracellular catalase, restored tolerance to honey stress in all the mutants.
As P. aeruginosa PAO1 catalase Kat A copes with H2O2 stress, it is conceivable that the antimicrobial activity of honey is, at least partially, due to the presence of hydrogen peroxide in honey or the ability of honey to induce production of hydrogen peroxide.
The katA deficient mutants could be used as tester microorganisms to compare the power of different types of natural and curative honeys in eliciting oxidative stress mediated by hydrogen peroxide.