J Pharmacopuncture. 2016 Sep;19(3):225-230
Mellitine, a major component of bee venom (BV, Apis mellifera), is more active against gram positive than gram negative bacteria. Moreover, BV has been reported to have multiple effects, including antibacterial, antivirus, and anti-inflammation effects, in various types of cells. In addition, wasp venom has been reported to have antibacterial properties. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial activity of BV against selected gram positive and gram negative bacterial strains of medical importance.
This investigation was set up to evaluate the antibacterial activity of BV against six grams positive and gram negative bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Three concentrations of crude BV and standard antibiotic (gentamicin) disks as positive controls were tested by using the disc diffusion method.
BV was found to have a significant antibacterial effect against E. coli, S. aureus, and Salmonella typhyimurium in all three concentrations tested. However, BV had no noticeable effect on other tested bacteria for any of the three doses tested.
The results of the current study indicate that BV inhibits the growth and survival of bacterial strains and that BV can be used as a complementary antimicrobial agent against pathogenic bacteria. BV lacked the effective proteins necessary for it to exhibit antibacterial activity for some specific strains while being very effective against other specific strains. Thus, one may conclude, that Apis mellifera venom may have a specific mechanism that allows it to have an antibacterial effect on certain susceptible bacteria, but that mechanism is not well understood.