Monday, July 02, 2007

Researchers Identify Compound Responsible for Manuka Honey’s Anti-Bacterial Activity

"Mystery" Healing Chemical in NZ Manuka Honey Found
NZPA, 7/2/2007

German scientists have identified the mystery chemical in New Zealand's manuka honey which is responsible for killing bacteria better than many antibiotics.

Food chemistry researchers at the Technical University of Dresden say the "unique manuka factor (UMF)" is the compound methylglyoxal.

Now a Te Awamutu company, Manuka Health, has formed a partnership with the university to measure levels of the compound in NZ manuka honey and to certify the products of rival honey processors.

At present, honey companies simply make claims about their content of the UMF identified by Waikato University biochemist Professor Peter Molan

Anti-bacterial properties of ordinary honey -- due to hydrogen peroxide and glucose oxidase -- have been used by traditional healers for centuries, but Prof Molan spent two decades researching the mystery compound found at high levels in some manuka honeys.

He referred to it as a "phytochemical agent" but struggled to isolate it in a pure enough form to work out its chemical structure.

But he did find the phytochemical could penetrate skin, fat and muscle overnight, work despite heat and acidity, and could withstand being smothered by a wound dressing.

Prof Molan's work enabled manuka honey producers to register a trademark, UMF, and rate their honeys according to an antibacterial potency rating: with higher ratings most suited to combatting ulcers, wounds and infections…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like this property may exist in all honey! It is good marketing on thier part but is it really anything more than that.