Sunday, May 31, 2009

Honey Map of New Zealand to Protect Manuka Brand

Oritain Offers Protection to NZ Honey Industry
Scoop Independent News, 5/27/2009

Honey from New Zealand has always extracted a premium. And, more and more overseas producers are finding ways to make customers believe that their product is NZ honey, or at least as good. In Cornwall, a British beekeeper has recently imported NZ plants to produce a “locally grown’’ version. And, there is evidence of NZ honey being relabelled by a US company and sold as NZ Manuka honey for nearly six times what the NZ branded product gets on the same supermarket shelf.

When others are capitalising on New Zealand’s reputation, what protection is there for genuine NZ honey producers? The answer lies with the bees.

Their honey provides deep insights into their flight patterns and provides a unique geochemical fingerprint of the area where it was produced. Genuine NZ honey is chemically different to honey produced anywhere else. This is increasingly important for honeys from more generic flowers (e.g. clover or thyme) where NZ doesn’t have the monopoly on the pollen. The fingerprint of honey not only proves its origin; it can determine the proportions of a mixture from two distinct sources, as long as reference data are available.

To protect New Zealand honey, Oritain is developing the Honey Map of New Zealand. This map will provide critical reference data so that any honey sample anywhere in the world can be compared to “what it should look like if it truly came from New Zealand’’, said Mike Darling, Oritain’s Manager of NZ Operations…

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Burt's Bees Celebrates Anniversary with Free Beeswax Lip Balm

Burt's Bees: Celebrate with Free Lip Balm!, 5/28/2009

...The fabulous Burt's Bees company is celebrating its 25th birthday this month, and in honor of this milestone, they're giving away 25,000 tubes of their magic lip elixir.

Click here to sign up for their newsletter and get one of the free tubes. Here's how it works: they're giving away 1,000 tubes a day (alas, today's are already gone). So be sure to click back tomorrow between 9 and 12 to make sure you get yours!

Use of Honey to Treat Catheter Infections to be Studied

The Honeypot Study Protocol: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Exit-Site Application of Medihoney Antibacterial Wound Gel for the Prevention of Catheter-Associated Infections in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients
Perit Dial Int, 2009 May;29(3):303-309

Objectives: The primary objective of this study is to determine whether daily exit-site application of standardized antibacterial honey (Medihoney Antibacterial Wound Gel; Comvita, Te Puke, New Zealand) results in a reduced risk of catheter-associated infections in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients compared with standard topical mupirocin prophylaxis of nasal staphylococcal carriers.

Design: Multicenter, prospective, open label, randomized controlled trial.

Setting: PD units throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Participants: The study will include both incident and prevalent PD patients (adults and children) for whom informed consent can be provided. Patients will be excluded if they have had (1) a history of psychological illness or condition that interferes with their ability to understand or comply with the requirements of the study; (2) recent (within 1 month) exit-site infection, peritonitis, or tunnel infection; (3) known hypersensitivity to, or intolerance of, honey or mupirocin; (4) current or recent (within 4 weeks) treatment with an antibiotic administered by any route; or (5) nasal carriage of mupirocin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Methods: 370 subjects will be randomized 1:1 to receive either daily topical exit-site application of Medihoney Antibacterial Wound Gel (all patients) or nasal application of mupirocin if staphylococcal nasal carriage is demonstrated. All patients in the control and intervention groups will perform their usual exit-site care according to local practice. The study will continue until 12 months after the last patient is recruited (anticipated recruitment time is 24 months).

Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure will be time to first episode of exit-site infection, tunnel infection, or peritonitis, whichever comes first. Secondary outcome measures will include time to first exit-site infection, time to first tunnel infection, time to first peritonitis, time to infection-associated catheter removal, catheter-associated infection rates, causative organisms, incidence of mupirocin-resistant microbial isolates, and other adverse reactions.

Conclusions: This multicenter Australian and New Zealand study has been designed to provide evidence to help nephrologists and their PD patients determine the optimal strategy for preventing PD catheter-associated infections. Demonstration of a significant improvement in PD catheter-associated infections with topical Medihoney will provide clinicians with an important new prophylactic strategy with a low propensity for promoting antimicrobial resistance.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Health Benefits of Honey and Cinnamon

Sify, 5/27/2009

The miraculous mixture of honey and cinnamon has been known for ages. Different countries and cultures across the world have used this combination for different medicinal purposes. References to this combination has been found in alternative medicine like Ayurveda and Yunani…

Here are some known uses of this wonderful combination.

Daily consumption of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral infections. Honey has various vitamins and a large amount of iron which strengthens the white blood corpuscles.

Curing arthritis
A paste of honey in luke warm water added with a teaspoon of cinnamon powder should be massaged on the aching part. The pain recedes within fifteen minutes in most cases.

Hair loss
For hair loss or baldness, people can apply a paste made out of hot olive oil, honey and some cinnamon powder. The application should be kept for about 15 minutes before washing off with luke warm water.

A paste made of cinnamon powder and honey when applied on the aching tooth gives quick relief from pain.

Controlling cholesterol
Honey and cinnamon powder mixed in tea helps reduce the level of cholesterol in blood. Eating pure honey is also known to check cholesterol…

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Study: Methylglyoxal Suitable Tool for Measuring Manuka Antibacterial Activity

Research Proves MGO™ Manuka Honey Accurately Measures Antibacterial Activity
Scoop Independent News, 5/28/2009

Claims that the MGO™ Manuka Honey rating system misrepresents the antibacterial activity of manuka honey were conclusively dismissed today by new scientific research.

According to Active Manuka Honey Association general manager John Rawcliffe the MGO™ Manuka Honey system does not fully measure antibacterial activity and therefore is misleading.

AMHA licenses the use of the rival UMF test, which rates manuka honey in comparison to the standard laboratory disinfectant phenol, a test which beekeepers complain is prone to error and has problems with “repeatability”.

Honey health science company Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd, which certifies the level of the active ingredient methylglyoxal, today made scientific research available which proves its MGO™ Manuka Honey system accurately measures antibacterial activity.

Chief executive Kerry Paul said today the research finally settled the issue of whether MGO™ Manuka Honey was valid for commercial labelling purposes. Critics had claimed for years that the antibacterial activity in manuka honey depended on other substances in addition to methylglyoxal.

“The latest research proves conclusively this is not the case,” he said. “The researchers specifically say that methylglyoxal is a valid measure of antibacterial activity.”

The research was conducted by the Institute of Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Dresden, which identified methylglyoxal in 2006 as manuka honey’s dominant antibacterial constituent.

In a peer-reviewed paper published this month in the Czech Journal of Food Sciences, the German researchers show “a perfect linear correlation” between methylglyoxal levels in 61 manuka honey samples and their antibacterial ratings in equivalent phenol concentration.

The authors, Julia Atrott and Professor Thomas Henle, said the purpose of their study was to investigate the extent to which methylglyoxal was responsible for the non-peroxide antibacterial activity of manuka honey.

The research checked whether it was possible to back-reference from methylglyoxal content to the antibacterial properties of a honey sample. The linear correlation showed this was the case.

“This clearly underlines that methylglyoxal is the dominant bioactive compound in manuka honey and above concentrations of around 150 mg/kg is directly responsible for the characteristic antibacterial properties of manuka honey,” the paper says…

“In conclusion, methylglyoxal is a unique antibacterial compound found in high concentrations in manuka honeys from New Zealand and directly responsible for the specific antibacterial activity of these samples.

“Methylglyoxal can serve as a suitable tool for the labelling of the bioactivity of commercial products.”…

Manuka Honey Helps Heal Wounds, Stomach Ulcers

Manuka Honey is the Bees Knees
The anti-bacterial properties of Manuka honey are so potent that it can heal wounds, treat stomach ulcers – and even fight MRSA
By Rosanna Macpherson, The Independent (Ireland), 5/26/2009

Manuka honey is a sticky golden indulgence that doesn't just taste delicious on your toast, it can also boost your health. Originally produced in New Zealand, Britain's first Mauka maker, Tregothnan, based in Cornwall, is now offering pots of its honey for £55 a jar. Manufactured in special beehives costing £5000 each, the Manuka commands a high price because it possesses proven medicinal qualities – as well as being a treat for those with a sweet tooth…

How does it aid healing?

The anti-bacterial qualities in Manuka also help to promote faster healing in deep wounds. The active enzymes in the honey cause dead skin cells to lift off the wound leaving a clean area for regeneration. The honey is said to stimulate the growth of new blood capillaries, replace connective tissues and produce the collagen fibres that give strength to healing wounds. Compared with routine treatments that had a 50 per cent success rate, the European Journal of Medical Research found Manuka boasted an 85 per cent figure when used to treat contaminated caesarean and hysterectomy wounds.

Is it easy to stomach?

Manuka honey has had positive results when used to treat stomach ulcers caused by helicobacter pylori bacteria, also a cause of stomach cancer. The active form of Manuka honey eliminates h. pylori and is a safe, cost-effective treatment that can be taken without the need for a prescription. Professor Molan suggests taking a teaspoon of Manuka honey with a small amount of bread three times a day to relieve digestive issues such as acid reflux, indigestion and gastritis. Manuka's anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties help reduce the pain of these stomach complaints.

What else can it be used for?

Manuka is increasingly being used in burn treatments. It helps stop secondary infections and decreases the likelihood of the patient needing skin grafts because the skin regenerates quickly with less scarring when the honey is used. Some forms of Eczema have also seen improvements with Manuka-based products. Due to the osmotic effect the honey creates, it can draw moisture into the affected area alleviating inflammation and soreness associated with eczema. Manuka can help to reduce acne and skin blemishes. It can be applied in the form of a face mask or mixed with moisturiser to help nourish the skin. The honey helps to kill bacteria that build up around hair follicles and larger pores that lead to acne.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Video: Africanized Bees Found in Utah

Killer Bees Found in S Utah, Stings May Be Fatal

CEDAR CITY, Utah - The Department of Agriculture said a swarm of Africanized Honey Bees have arrived in Southern Utah, and mega stings from these bees can be fatal. The bees were initially found in the exterior walls of a home in Cedar City and the Department worries they may spread to other areas of the state…

Bee Pollen is One of Nature’s Most Perfect Foods

Heidi Nebel, Seattle Nutrition Examiner, 5/25/2009

Bee pollen is one of the oldest healing substances known to man and considered by many to be a perfect food. Pollen is the fine dust-like grains or powder formed within the anther of a flowering plant and is the male reproductive substance in plants that fertilizes the ovules. Bee pollen is collected from bees using a screen that the bees must go through to enter the hive. As the bee passes through the screen only some of the pollen is collected allowing the bees to have enough to continue the normal functions of the hive.

American researchers have identified 105 different nutritional components in bee pollen including a surprisingly wide array of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, natural sugars, hormones, fatty acids, natural anti-bacterial substances, lecithin (a fat helpful to the liver, brain and nerves), and bioflavinoids including quercetin which is an anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and antioxidant. Because bee pollen is such a nutrient dense food that contains a broad spectrum of healthful components some call it the richest food in nature. I certainly do agree with Carlson Wade who said bee pollen is “the world’s oldest youth food”…

Research using bee pollen has shown improvement in medical conditions including the treatment of nutritional deficiencies such as anemia, reduction in seasonal allergies, prostate problems, pms and menstrual disturbances. As well research on bee pollen has shown heart healthy properties and anti-cancer effects. It also has been shown to reduce radiation side effects in cancer patients. Animal studies have shown an increase in fertility in rats and hens. Amazingly, mice have been shown to live on bee pollen as their sole source of food for numerous generations with no ill effects. Bee pollen has also been used for weight management. People wanting to gain weight can take bee pollen after meals, conversely, those wanting to lose weight can take bee pollen before meals as this helps reduce the apatite…

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Video: British Monk Makes Beeswax Beauty Products

Reuters, 5/22/2009

Students Seek to Identify Source of Maltese Propolis

New Kids On the Block
Anne Zammit, Times of Malta, 5/24/2009

All is not darkness and gloom. A new group dealing with environmental issues has surfaced on the campus, positively beaming with energy and hope.

In the throes of handing in their final year dissertations, two students reading for a degree in chemistry and biology found time to talk animatedly about Greenhouse, the latest environment-oriented organisation to hit the streets.

Malcolm Borg and Simone Cutajar count themselves among those who believe the individual actions of many can bring much-needed change. Making a start by applying the principles of sustainable living to a small area such as the university campus is where Greenhouse begins…

Many projects and theses carried out at university circle around an environmental theme. Mr Borg has made a survey of the flora at Ġnien Ingraw as part of his dissertation. Ms Cutajar helps out at Argotti Gardens as a tour guide, while in her studies she is seeking to identify the botanical source of propolis.

Most beekeepers are aware of the benefits of propolis, a kind of healing glue produced by bees. This anti-bacterial and anti-viral substance is also recognised for its anti-cancer properties. However, due to the public's lack of awareness of its benefits, there is no established market in Malta and this discourages beekeepers from offering it for sale along with honey and other bee products. The type of propolis produced by Maltese bees appears to be chemically and biologically unique. It is known that bees need tree resin to make propolis.

The riddle is finding out which trees provide the unique chemical substances in their resin that makes Maltese propolis different from the rest. There are indications that conifer and pine trees play a crucial role. While still inconclusive, early results suggest that resins from the rare and endangered Sandarac gum tree (Għargħar) may also be involved.

Isolated populations of Għargħar are old and their seeds may no longer be fertile. Micro-propagation can duplicate cells from cuttings taken from trees found in various locations. This is done for the widest possible genetic diversity in an effort to cross-breed the trees, which could help preserve the species. If this rare tree is found to be the source of the special properties of Maltese propolis it would be an added value that would strengthen arguments for better conservation management…

Monday, May 25, 2009

Video: Bees Swarm, Take Over NYC Sidewalk

Honey Performed Well on Light to Medium Burns - Researchers

Wellington, May 23 NZPA - A review of previous medical research has shown that honey can be an effective treatment for superficial and partial-thickness burns.

But the New Zealand Medical Journal reports that more research is urgently required before honey can be regarded as a mainstream treatment for burns.

It has published an analysis of the results of eight studies which compared the effectiveness of honey with alternative burn dressing treatments - some of them older remedies such as potato peel or amniotic membranes from a fetus…

See: Honey in the Treatment of Burns: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Its Efficacy
Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 22-May-2009, Vol 122 No 1295

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Video: Humane Method Used to Remove Honeybee Hives

By Laurie Lucas, The Press-Enterprise, 5/23/2009

Angel Powers is part of a little hive of honeybee rescuers who have a message for pest control: buzz off.

Powers, 55, and her business partner don't zap unwelcome honeybees that lodge in homes and businesses. Instead, they humanely capture and relocate them to a Brea farm in Orange County where they're returned to honey-making…

Honey Beats Dextromethorphan for Childrens’ Cough

Honey, Not Dextromethorphan, was Better Than No Treatment for Nocturnal Cough in Children with Upper Respiratory Infections
Archives of Disease in Childhood - Education and Practice, 2009;94:96

Design: randomised controlled trial.

Blinding: blinded (outcome assessors, patients and healthcare providers [to dextromethorphan (DM) and honey], {data collectors, data analysts, and manuscript writers}).*

Setting: a university-affiliated paediatric practice in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA.

Patients: {108} children 2–18 years of age (median age 5 y, range 2–17 y, 53% girls) who had cough due to an upper respiratory infection (rhinorrhoea and cough for 7 days) and whose parents scored 3 points (somewhat) for 2 of 3 questions on a 7-point Likert scale that assessed cough and sleep difficulty (0 = not at all to 6 = extremely). Exclusion criteria included signs and symptoms of asthma, pneumonia, laryngotracheobronchitis, sinusitis, or allergic rhinitis; reactive airways disease; chronic lung disease; use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; or use of an antihistamine or DM hydrobromide 6 hours from bedtime or DM polistirex 12 hours from bedtime on the day before or of enrolment.

Product Claims to Improve Pollination by Bees

Natural Product to Help Honey Bees
Norfolk Eastern Daily Press, 5/23/2009

A new product can enhance and improve the performance of bees as pollinators, it is claimed.

Pollinus, a blend of four attractant pheromones, has been launched by Agri-Nova Technology. It is sprayed on to target crops by growers at the start of flowering to attract honey bees and bumble bees into the crop and improve pollination…

"What Pollinus will do is to attract the bees that are active into the treated crop and so improve that return. It is particularly beneficial in cooler conditions by encouraging foraging…

Pollinus has been used in France, Spain and Italy and has been developed and made by Natural Plant Protection, of Pau, in France.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Multiple Bee Stings Can Lead to Renal Failure

Acute Renal Failure Following Bee Stings: Case Reports
Rev Soc Bras Med Trop, 2009 Mar-Apr;42(2):209-12 [Article in Portuguese]

Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome characterized by muscle injury, most frequently due to muscle crushing and trauma. However, it may also be induced by non-traumatic causes, for example by means of stinging by Africanized bees.

We describe two cases of rhabdomyolysis that presented dialytic acute renal failure after several bee stings.

Fairmont Hotel in Washington D.C. Checks in 105,000 Honey Bees

Cross-pollination of culinary benefits and environmentalism is sweet as honey
By Stephanie Rogers, Mother Nature Network, 5/22/2009

The Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., is abuzz with 105,000 new guests: Italian honeybees that have settled into their new home in hives atop the hotel’s roof. The bees will enhance the hotel’s culinary program by providing honey and pollinating the fresh herbs and edible flowers in the Fairmont’s interior courtyard garden…

Honey: A Topical Treatment for Wounds

The Day After (India), May 2009

In recent years, there has been a resurgent interest in the use of honey in wound care. Honey, a plant nectar that is modified by the honey bee Apis mellifera, has been used as a treatment for wounds since antiquity, with records of its use dating back to the early Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans.

There are several mechanisms through which honey is thought to act on and heal wounds.

· When it is applied directly on a wound surface or via a dressing, it can act as a sealant, keeping the wound moist and free from contamination.

· In addition, honey is comprised of glucose (35%), fructose (40%), sucrose (5%), and water (20%). This high sugar content plus vitamins, minerals, and amino acids) provides topical nutrition that is thought to promote healing and tissue growth.

· Honey is also a hyperosmotic agent that draws fluid from the wound bed and underlying circulation, which kills bacteria that cannot thrive in such an environment.

· It is bactericidal in other ways as well. During the process of honey production, worker bees add the enzyme glucose oxidase to the nectar. When honey is applied to the wound, this enzyme comes into contact with oxygen in the air, which leads to the production of the bactericide hydrogen peroxide.

· Macroscopically, honey has also shown debriding action…

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Zealand Honey Producer Calls UK Manuka ‘Rip-Off’

NZ Beekeeper Offers to Test $13 Tsp UK 'Manuka Honey'
New Zealand Herald, 5/22/2009

A New Zealand manuka honey producer has offered to test a British "rip-off" of manuka honey for the active ingredient, amid reports consumers are paying £55 ($145.54) a jar for the product.

Cornwall beekeepers have imported manuka plants from New Zealand to produce their own version of medicinal manuka honey.

Kerry Paul, chief executive of honey health science company Manuka Health New Zealand, said today he was incredulous at the gullibility of British consumers.

He offered to test the Cornwall honey for levels of the active ingredient.

"If consumers are expecting that honey to have the antibacterial properties which genuine manuka honey is famous for, I'm afraid they will be disappointed," he said.

"The natural compound methylglyoxal (MGOb) is the active antibacterial ingredient in manuka honey, but it is not present at sufficient levels in all manuka honey…

Mr Paul said he had seen a photograph of a pot of the Cornwall honey on a British newspaper website and could tell it was not manuka honey from the colour.

He doubted there was much manuka honey in the pot, which he said looked like it came from "mixed sources"…

Propolis Has Favorable Effect on Blood of Fish

Effects of Various Propolis Concentrations on Biochemical and Hematological Parameters of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Ecotoxicol Environ Saf, 2009 May 8

Biochemical and hematological parameters in blood of rainbow trout treated to various concentrations of propolis for 96h were determined…

Dose-dependent effects of propolis on blood of fish can be favorable, opening new perspectives of investigation on their biological properties and utilization.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bee Venom Has Radioprotective Effect Against DNA Damage

Radioprotective Effects of Honeybee Venom (Apis mellifera) Against 915-MHz Microwave Radiation–Induced DNA Damage in Wistar Rat Lymphocytes: In Vitro Study
International Journal of Toxicology, Vol. 28, No. 2, 88-98 (2009)

The aim of this study is to investigate the radioprotective effect of bee venom against DNA damage induced by 915-MHz microwave radiation (specific absorption rate of 0.6 W/kg) in Wistar rats.

Whole blood lymphocytes of Wistar rats are treated with 1 µg/mL bee venom 4 hours prior to and immediately before irradiation. Standard and formamidopyrimidine-DNA glycosylase (Fpg)–modified comet assays are used to assess basal and oxidative DNA damage produced by reactive oxygen species.

Bee venom shows a decrease in DNA damage compared with irradiated samples. Parameters of Fpg-modified comet assay are statistically different from controls, making this assay more sensitive and suggesting that oxidative stress is a possible mechanism of DNA damage induction.

Bee venom is demonstrated to have a radioprotective effect against basal and oxidative DNA damage. Furthermore, bee venom is not genotoxic and does not produce oxidative damage in the low concentrations used in this study.

U.S. Opens First Science Center Devoted to Pollinators

New UI Pollinatarium Already Abuzz with Activity
By Julie Wurth, News-Gazette (USA), 5/19/2009

URBANA – On this beautiful spring day the place is buzzing with excitement.

Thousands of bees crawling over a hive will do that to a roomful of fourth-graders.

"Ooooh, ooooh," they gasp as University of Illinois entomology Professor Gene Robinson pulls out a tray of bees busy making honey.

"You have to stay calm, because if you go crazy, they'll go crazy, and they'll sting you," warns junior bee expert Kayla Sharp.

These students, from Kay Grabow's fourth-grade class at Thomas Paine School in Urbana, were the first official visitors to the new University of Illinois Pollinatarium (think planetarium, only about bees and pollination instead of planets).

Located on the grounds of the UI Arboretum, the Pollinatarium is the first free-standing science center in the nation devoted to pollinators – bees mostly, but also birds, butterflies and other insects…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Audio: How Honey Heals

Southern California Public Radio, 5/19/2009

Yes, time heals all wounds – but how about honey?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Honey's been slathered on wounds since the days of King Tut. But it was unknown whether it actually heals or just leads to a sticky situation. Some studies had been done, but they were all rather small – and inconclusive.

Andrew Jull, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, recently took a bigger look. He pored over official publications, and the databases of hospitals and pharmaceutical companies for unpublished findings…

Honey treatment significantly sped up healing, even outperformed conventional dressings. Injuries healed a full five days faster, on average.

The delicious goo appears to help skin shed dead tissue. It also provides nutrition that spurs tissue growth – like a cell culture. Plus, honey contains enzymes that gradually turn the sugars glucose and fructose into hydrogen peroxide, bathing boo-boos in a continuous trickle of antiseptic…

Source of Brazilian Propolis Studied for Effect on Polio Virus

Anti-Poliovirus Activity of Baccharis Dracunculifolia and Propolis by Cell Viability Determination and Real-Time PCR
Journal of Applied Microbiology, Published Online: 21 Apr 2009

Aims: The aim of this work was to evaluate the antiviral activities of Baccharis dracunculifolia (extract and essential oil), propolis and some isolated compounds (caffeic and cinnamic acids) against poliovirus type 1 (PV1) replication in HEp-2 cells.

Method: Three different protocols (pre-, simultaneous and post-treatments) were used to verify the effect of addition time of the variables on PV1 replication by crystal violet method and relative viral RNA quantification by real-time PCR for analysing in which step of virus replication the variables could interfere.

Conclusions: Data revealed that the B. dracunculifolia showed the best antiviral activity percentage in the simultaneous treatment, as well as lower relative viral quantification by real-time PCR. Variables might block partially the viral entry within cells, affect the steps of viral cycle replication into cells, or lead to RNA degradation before the virus entry into cells or after their release to the supernatant.

Significance and Impact of the Study: Baccharis dracunculifolia is the most important botanical source of the south-eastern Brazilian propolis, and its potential for the development of new phytotherapeutic medicines has been investigated. Propolis is commonly used for its antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities. Nevertheless, B. dracunculifolia and propolis effects on PV1 have not been investigated yet.

UK Bee Population Collapse 'Could be Saved by British Species'

Britain could be saved from the devastating effects of a collapse in its bee population by turning to a native British species, which is more aggressive and hairier than the southern European honeybees favoured by apiarists.
By Ian Johnston, The Telegraph (UK), 5/17/09

One in three hives were lost over the last winter alone for reasons that are not clearly understood although bad weather, the use of insecticides, a lack of wildflowers and the varroa mite, which has spread rapidly since arriving in Britain in 1992, are thought to be partly to blame.

However, the majority of the bees in Britsin's 274,000 hives are actually a subspecies which originated in southern and eastern Europe.

New research has found the native black honeybee could be better able to survive any external threats as it is better equipped to deal with the British weather...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

High-Priced Manuka Honey Produced in Britain

British Beekeeper Charging $144 a Jar for Manuka Honey
Otago Daily Times (New Zealand), 5/19/2009

British beekeepers have imported manuka plants from New Zealand to produce their own version of medicinal manuka honey, which they are selling at £5 ($NZ13) a teaspoonful.

The honey is being produced on the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall.

"At £55 ($NZ144) a small pot, few people will be smearing Tregothnan manuka honey liberally on their breakfast toast any day soon," The Guardian newspaper in London reported.

The estate company claimed the price tag was justified because its 100,000 bees are housed in 20 special hives claimed to be worth £5000 each and have the exclusive run of the garden's manuka bushes.

Tregothnan's garden director, Jonathan Jones, said: "The honey is expensive, but it is Britain's only manuka honey…

Honey Shortens Duration of Colds, Cold Sores

Eating Honey Shortens Colds by Two Days
The Daily Mail (UK), 5/15/2009

Honey can help reduce the duration of colds.

Two ounces a day reduces the length of the common cold by up two days, according to a new study.

In the trial, believed to be the first of its kind, men and women were recruited within 24 hours of catching a cold.

All 60 patients were given traditional therapies - such as decongestants and anti-pyretics (drugs to lower a temperature) - but half of them were also given a dose of honey - two ounces (around four tablespoons) - every day.

The researchers, from Jahrom University of Medical Science in Iran, monitored a range of symptoms including a runny nose, muscle pain, fever, coughing and sneezing…

At the end of the study, which was reported in the Archives of Medical Research, the researchers found a significant difference in duration of all symptoms, with the honey group faring much better.

It's thought that this is due to compounds in honey such as phenolic acid and flavonoids.

It is not the first time that honey has shown beneficial effects against viruses. In a recent trial at the Dubai Medical Centre, 16 adults with a history of recurrent cold sores were told to apply honey within one hour of the first sign of a cold sore…

Results showed that the length of an attack, pain and healing time were all reduced by two-thirds.

New Method to Measure Energy Transfer Molecules in Royal Jelly

Online Cleanup of Accelerated Solvent Extractions for Determination of Adenosine 5′-Triphosphate (ATP), Adenosine 5′-Diphosphate (ADP), and Adenosine 5′-Monophosphate (AMP) in Royal Jelly Using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography
J. Agric. Food Chem, May 12, 2009

Determination of the levels of adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP), adenosine 5′-diphosphate (ADP), and adenosine 5′-monophosphate (AMP) in royal jelly is important for the study of its pharmacological activities, health benefits, and adenosine phosphate degradation.

In this study was developed a novel method to determine ATP, ADP, and AMP levels in royal jelly using accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) followed by online cleanup and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with diode array detection (DAD)…

With this ASE-HPLC method, a minisurvey of ATP, ADP, and AMP levels in 15 samples of royal jelly of different origins was performed. Sample results indicated that the AMP concentration was 24.2−2214.4 mg kg−1, whereas ATP and ADP were not detectable or present only at low levels.

Pesticides Indicted in Bee Deaths

Agriculture officials have renewed their scrutiny of the world's best-selling pest-killer as they try to solve the mysterious collapse of the nation's hives.
By Julia Scott,, 5/18/09

Gene Brandi will always rue the summer of 2007. That's when the California beekeeper rented half his honeybees, or 1,000 hives, to a watermelon farmer in the San Joaquin Valley at pollination time. The following winter, 50 percent of Brandi's bees were dead. "They pretty much disappeared," says Brandi, who's been keeping bees for 35 years.

Since the advent in 2006 of colony collapse disorder, the mysterious ailment that continues to decimate hives across the country, Brandi has grown accustomed to seeing up to 40 percent of his bees vanish each year, simply leave the hive in search of food and never come back. But this was different. Instead of losing bees from all his colonies, Brandi watched the ones that skipped watermelon duty continue to thrive.

Brandi discovered the watermelon farmer had irrigated his plants with imidacloprid, the world's best-selling insecticide created by Bayer CropScience Inc., one of the world's leading producers of pesticides and genetically modified vegetable seeds, with annual sales of $8.6 billion. Blended with water and applied to the soil, imidacloprid creates a moist mixture the bees likely drank from on a hot day.

Stories like Brandi's have become so common that the National Honeybee Advisory Board, which represents the two biggest beekeeper associations in the U.S., recently asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban the product. "We believe imidacloprid kills bees -- specifically, that it causes bee colonies to collapse,"

Monday, May 18, 2009

British Tourist in France Stung 500 Times

Hols Trip Brit Stung 500 Times By Bees
The Sun (UK), 5/18/2009

A group of British tourists were badly injured after being attacked by thousands of bees at an art gallery in France.
One woman in her 20s suffered FIVE HUNDRED stings, with bees covering her face and hair.

She was rushed to hospital along with two other tourists.

Several others were treated at the scene by ambulancemen.

Shocked witnesses said the attack was “like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock horror film”.

The Britons had been visiting a country house in Moulidars, near Cognac, when the bees descended from a pigeon loft…

Pesticide Residues in Pollen, Bee Bread Analyzed

Residues of Pesticides in Honeybee (Apis mellifera carnica) Bee Bread and in Pollen Loads from Treated Apple Orchards
Bull Environ Contam Toxicol, 2009 May 12

Honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica) colonies were placed in two apple orchards treated with the insecticides diazinon and thiacloprid and the fungicide difenoconazole in accordance with a Protection Treatment Plan in the spring of 2007. Pollen and bee bread were collected from combs inside the hives.
The residue of diazinon in pollen loads 10 days after orchard treatment was 0.09 mg/kg, and the same amount of residue was found in bee bread 16 days after treatment.

In pollen loads 6 days after application 0.03 mg/kg of thiacloprid residues and 0.01 mg/kg of difenoconazole were found on the first day after application.

Possible sub-lethal effects on individual honey bees and brood are discussed.

Cosmetics Industry Threatened by Bees' Demise

Marie Claire, 5/15/2009

Cosmetics which rely on the honeybee for production are facing a crisis as the British honeybee - whose numbers have dropped by 80 per cent in some areas - dies out.

According to the Co-operative Group, almost 4000 of the UK's favourite cosmetics are under threat, including 643 brands of mascara, 589 lipsticks and at least 453 moisturisers.

The cosmetics all rely on beeswax, a by-product of the pollination process. Beeswax is found in a wide range of cosmetics ingredients such as honey, wax, propolis and royal jelly. It acts as a preserve and a barrier against air and moisture…

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Propolis Product Helps Treat Fungal Infections

Using a Natural Product to Treat Fungal Infections
Apitherapy Review, 4/15/2009

Of the innumerable microscopic species of fungi, some cause acute infections. For instance, the Candida type of yeasts can cause septicemias (generalized infections), organ infections, infections of the fingernails or the mouth's mucosa, vulvo-vaginitis, balanitis, or urethritis. The opportunistic yeast Candida albicans lives in the bacterial flora of the human gut. Generally, when intestinal flora is well balanced, the proportion of Candida is of one cell to one million other bacteria. When this balance is disrupted—by overuse of antibiotics, insufficient dietary fiber, or weakened defenses of the alimentary tract—a proliferation of Candida results. This in turn can lead to the general infection known as candidosis.

A natural product, CandiCIDE®, which includes a mix of essential oils and propolis, can alleviate symptoms resulting from an imbalance of yeasts in the organism, in particular in the digestive system.

Brown propolis

Of exceptional quality, this propolis has a concentration of active components as much as ten times that of natural propolis. It has an antimicrobial, mainly antifungal, action and antioxidant effects. It also contains flavonoids: quercetin, artepilin C, pinocembrin, and galangin, with a strong antifungal action; oligoelements, which contribute to cell metabolism; and the phenethyl ester of cafeic acid ( CAPE ), with an anti-inflammatory effect. Together they augment the action of the natural C vitamin, needed by the body to prevent oxidation…

Honeybee Breeder Works to Save Our Food Supply

By Heather McPherson, Orlando Sentinel (USA), 5/17/2009,0,4694339.story

GROVELAND, Florida - Dave Miksa is saving the world — one queen bee at a time.

As a queen breeder Miksa is one of about 50 specialists who are maintaining the endangered bee population by providing thoroughbred royalty to raise colonies.

"Without honeybee pollination, the food we eat could decrease by a third," said Jamie Ellis, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida. And Florida's weather puts Miksa ahead of many of his colleagues because while others are still thawing out in spring, hives at his Lake County honey farm are bustling with activity.

"Dave's work is indisputably key to maintaining the country's bee population," said Doug McGinnis, the second-generation owner of Tropical Blossom Honey Co. in Edgewater. "Queen rearers of his caliber are responsible for developing strong, pest-resistant insects, and that makes them the most important facet of our industry."…

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Video: Beekeeper Gets Help After Breakdown in Utah

Propolis Helps Prevent Tooth Decay

The Potential Use of Propolis as a Cariostatic Agent and Its Actions on Mutans Group Streptococci
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Article in Press

Propolis is a resinous substance made by bees. It possesses many biological activities, and many studies have reported its potential application in the control of dental caries. However, variability in the chemical composition of propolis is a potential problem in its quality control, especially since propolis has already been incorporated into products for oral use. Therefore, a critical analysis of the available data on propolis is warranted.

The present review discusses the in vitro and in vivo studies published in the period between 1978 and 2008 regarding the effects of propolis on Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) growth, bacterial adherence, glucosyltransferase activity, and caries indicators.

Several investigations carried out with crude propolis extracts, isolated fractions, and purified compounds showed reductions in S. mutans counts and interference with their adhesion capacity and glucosyltransferase activity, which are considered major properties in the establishment of the cariogenic process.

Data from in vivo studies have demonstrated reductions in S. mutans counts in saliva, the plaque index, and insoluble polysaccharide formation. These findings indicate that propolis and/or its compounds are promising cariostatic agents.

However, the variation in the chemical composition of propolis due to its geographical distribution is a significant drawback to its routine clinical use. Thus, further studies are needed to establish the quality and safety control criteria for propolis in order for it to be used in accordance with its proposed activity.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Royal Jelly Alleviates Adverse Effects of Fluoride

Effects of Sodium Fluoride Exposure on Some Biochemical Parameters in Mice: Evaluation of the Ameliorative Effect of Royal Jelly Applications on These Parameters
Food Chem Toxicol, 2009 Jun;47(6):1184-9

Forty eight male Balb/c mice, each weighing 30-35 g, were used in the present study. The animals were divided into four equal groups. The first group served as the control group, and the second group was administered royal jelly at a dose of 50 mg/kg bw by gavage for a period of 7 days. The third group received 200 ppm fluoride, as sodium fluoride, for a period of 7 days, in drinking water. Lastly, the fourth group was given 200 ppm fluoride in drinking water, in association with royal jelly at a dose of 50 mg/kg bw by gavage, for a period of 7 days.

At the end of the seventh day, blood samples were collected from all groups into heparinised and dry tubes, and liver samples were taken concurrently. Erythrocyte and liver tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities were evaluated in the blood and tissue samples obtained. Furthermore, serum cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, total protein and albumin levels, and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alcaline phosphatase (ALP) activities were evaluated.

In conclusion, fluoride was determined to cause adverse effects in mice, and the administration of royal jelly to these animals alleviated the adverse effects of fluoride.

New Test Detects Fake Honey

Sweet Solution to Honey Fraud
By Mike Stones, Food Production Daily, 13-May-2009

French researchers have developed a test to distinguish 100 per cent natural honeys from fake products adulterated with other substances, reports the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The high price and limited supply of honey has tempted some beekeepers and food processors to sell impure honey containing inexpensive sweeteners, such as corn syrup, inverted syrups and high fructose corn syrup, claims one of the researchers Bernard Herbreteau. Adulterated honey is almost indistinguishable, physically and chemically, from the real thing.

But Herbreteau and his colleagues say their highly sensitive test can put an end to fraudulent honey sales. It uses a special type of chromatography to separate and identify complex sugars or polysaccharides according to their characteristic chemical fingerprints...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Propolis Protects Against Reproductive Toxicity

Propolis Protection from Reproductive Toxicity Caused by Aluminium Chloride in Male Rats
Food Chem Toxicol, 2009 Jun;47(6):1168-75

Different forms of aluminium (Al) are environmental xenobiotics that induce free radical-mediated cytotoxicity and reproductive toxicity. Propolis has been reported to be important antioxidant. Therefore, this study aimed at elucidating the protective effects of propolis against reproductive toxicity of aluminium chloride (AlCl3) in male rats…

AlCl3 caused a decrease in testes, seminal vesicle and epididymis weights, sperm concentration, motility, testosterone level and the activities of 17-ketosteroid reductase, CAT and GST, and GSH content. While, dead and abnormal sperm and testes TBARS concentrations were increased. In the AlCl3-treated group, histopathologic examinations revealed apparent alterations in the testes, where it induced marked lesions in seminiferous tubules.

Propolis alone decreased dead and abnormal sperm and TBARS, and increased testosterone, GSH, 17-ketosteroid reductase, CAT and GST.

Results showed that propolis antagonized the harmful effects of AlCl3. This was proved histopathologically by the great improvement in testes. In conclusion propolis could be effective in the protection against the reproductive toxicity of AlCl3.

Lab Tests Needed to Differentiate Africanized, European Bees

Know Your Honey Bees - Are they Africanized or European?
News-Citizen (USA), 5/13/2009

Africanized honey bees are well established in the wild population of honey bees in Texas. The Africanized bee is a hybrid (mixture) of African and European honey bee subspecies. Both are not native to the Americas. As a hybrid the Africanized bee appears identical to European honey bees. Individual foraging European and Africanized bees are highly unlikely to sting. A swarm rarely stings people when in flight or temporarily at rest.

However, established Africanized colonies are more highly defensive toward perceived predators than European colonies.

It is sometimes important to know if a bee colony contains Africanized members…

Because Africanized honey bees are nearly identical in appearance to our more docile, domesticated (European) honey bees, the only way to make a positive identification is with the use of sophisticated optical and computer equipment. In addition, at least 10-20 worker bees must be submitted to accurately test whether the colony is Africanized. Bees collected away from their nest or swarm-for instance, at feeding or watering sites-cannot be reliable identified.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Study: Eating Honey Shortens Colds by Two Days

Daily Mail (UK), 5/12/2009

Honey can help reduce the duration of colds.

Two ounces a day reduces the length of the common cold by up two days, according to a new study.

‘Super Manuka’ Australian Honey Launched in UK

Doctors Buzz Over Discovery of ‘Super Manuka’ Honey
Cube Communication, 5/13/2009

Today Australia announced the UK launch of a new ‘Super Manuka’ honey that has twice the potency of any previous manuka honey. The groundbreaking honey, produced from bees that feed off rare coastal ecosystems in sub-tropical Eastern Australia, has already created quite a buzz, being described by one Australian Government report as "The best natural antibiotic in the world".

The antibacterial honey, called ‘Berringa’, has been proven to have remarkable health and medical potential and measurably outstrips its well-known manuka honey cousin from New Zealand. Researchers at the University of Wales, Cardiff, who tested honey from around the world for medicinal properties commented: “The greatest antibacterial effect was seen in the Australian Jellybush honey (Berringa), with New Zealand manuka and pasture honeys also showing effects but at a significant lower level than those seen in Jellybush.”…

Giles Tilley, Director of the Medibioactive Honey Company who produces the honey comments “This is a really exciting product for the medical industry especially at a time when antibiotic resistance to bacteria is becoming a major worldwide problem…”

Swine Flu Boosts Popularity of Honey-Based Hand Sanitizer

Sales of 100% Natural Hand Sanitiser Soar as Londoners Germ Proof Themselves Against Swine Flu
Sparkle PR, 5/11/2009

Following the Department of Health’s major public information campaign aimed at combating the spread of swine flu, experts behind Quash, a 100% natural hand sanitiser have been sampling today across London to help people avoid infection…

Quash is widely available from all Superdrug, WHSmith travel stores, selected Tesco and pharmacies and has been clinically tested and proven to dramatically reduce the spread of disease, killing 99.9% of all known germs and bacteria in seconds, including MRSA, EColi, Salmonella and the common cold and flu..

Its formula targets germs on the hand by killing the pathogens before they enter the body but it’s less abrasive formulation does not damage the skin. Instead it uses Aloe Vera and Lavender to moisturise and ‘wonder treatment’ Manuka Honey – a medical grade honey indigenous to New Zealand with extremely powerful natural healing and anti-bacterial properties…

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Propolis Helps Cut Fat Accumulation

The Beneficial Effect of Propolis on Fat Accumulation and Lipid Metabolism in Rats Fed a High-Fat Diet
Journal of Food Science, Published Online: 28 Apr 2009

This study examined whether propolis, which had many biological activities, affected body fat and lipid metabolism.

Four-week-old Wistar rats were fed a control or propolis diet for 8 wk. The control group was fed a high-fat diet, the low and the high group were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with 0.5% (w/w) and 0.05% (w/w) propolis, respectively.

The weight of total white adipose tissue of the high group was lower than that of the control group. The level of PPARγ protein in the adipose tissues of the high group was significantly lower than that of the control group.

In plasma and the liver, the high group showed a significantly reduced level of cholesterol and triglyceride compared to the control group. The liver PPARα protein level of the high group was significantly higher than that of the control group.

The liver HMG-CoA reductase protein in the high group was also significantly lower than that in the control group.

Results from rats on an olive oil loading test were used to investigate whether propolis inhibited triglyceride absorption. The serum triglyceride level of the group, which received propolis corresponding to the daily dose of the high group, was significantly lower than that of the control group.

It is possible that the administration of propolis improves the accumulation of body fat and dyslipidemia via the change of the expression of proteins involved in adipose depot and lipid metabolism.

Molan: Rating the Antibacterial Activity of Manuka Honey

By Peter Molan
Honey Research Unit, University of Waikato

The unique type of antibacterial activity that is present in manuka honey, distinct from the antibacterial activity due to hydrogen peroxide that is common to all honeys, was discovered in research at the University of Waikato in 1982. This discovery was first published in an MSc thesis which is held in the university library (K.M. Russell, 1983, The antibacterial properties of honey), and subsequently in a journal (Molan, P.C. and Russell, K.M. 1988, "Non-peroxide antibacterial activity in some New Zealand honeys." Journal of Apicultural Research 27, 62-67).

The variation that occurs in the level of this unique activity in manuka honey was reported in a subsequent publication (Allen, K.L., Molan, P.C. and Reid, G.M., 1991, "A survey of the antibacterial activity of some New Zealand honeys." Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 43, 817-822) where it was noted that:

“The present survey has shown not all samples said to be manuka honey can be relied upon to provide this antibacterial activity.”

It was from this came the term “Active Manuka Honey”. The term was used in a fact sheet put out by the New Zealand Honey Food & Ingredient Advisory Service in 1998, which said:

“All of the patients in the trials who were taking the special active manuka honey, as opposed to those patients taking ordinary inactive manuka honey, had a marked improvement in their symptoms.”

It also said:

“Research at the University of Waikato showed that some New Zealand manuka honey (and it is important to emphasis ‘some, not all’ New Zealand manuka honey has a unique antibacterial activity. Laboratory trials showed that this active manuka honey is effective in killing Helicobacter pylori.”

Because of increasing publicity about active manuka honey though news media reports on the research being done at the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, the public demand for this special honey increased. But it also brought out people seeking to gain financially by “passing off” to the public so-called manuka honey which did not have the unique antibacterial activity. In 1997 I was asked by TRADENZ (the predecessor to NZTE) to help with the setting up of an Industry Group for the producers of the genuine active manuka honey, and to advise on how best the producers of the genuine active manuka honey, and consumers, could be protected from those selling manuka honey without the unique type of activity yet implying that it was the same thing.

Unfortunately the recommendations I made have not provided the answer to the problem. For instance, in the UK it is said that much of the manuka honey on sale does not have measureable levels of the non-peroxide antibacterial activity that is unique to manuka honey. Similarly there is honey on sale in New Zealand where the rating of activity on it is not a rating of the unique type of activity as measured by the assay described in Allen et al. (1991). There are also people selling manuka honey with the activity claimed to be the unique non-peroxide activity “assayed by the method developed by Dr. Molan” but there are beekeepers saying that different results from different laboratories are obtained for the same honey. There have also been many complaints that poor repeatability in results is seen when the same honey is sent repeatedly to the same laboratory. Consequently there is a need for a method for assaying and certifying the unique non-peroxide antibacterial activity of manuka honey that is accurate, highly reliable, independent of competing companies, open to anyone meeting set standards, and in which consumers can have confidence.

The measurement of the antibacterial activity of manuka honey by the method published in Allen et al. (1991) is by reference to a standard antibacterial agent (phenol) which is not what gives the manuka honey its activity. The assay uses bacteria which can vary in their relative sensitivity to the factors in the manuka honey and to phenol. Because of this, small differences in the way the assay is performed can give different results for the rating of the honey. (This is why cross-checking between laboratories is essential.) Similarly, lack of adequate control to ensure that the catalase added to destroy hydrogen peroxide is fully effective can lead to results being reported for non-peroxide activity for honeys such as honeydew which have high activity due to hydrogen peroxide but no non-peroxide activity. Thus people selling honey saying that the claimed non-peroxide activity has been tested by the method published by Allen et al. (1991) may be misleading the consumer.

The unit of measurement of the antibacterial activity of honey relative to that of phenol has de facto always been defined by the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, with most other laboratories which carry out such measurement cross-checking their results with the Honey Research Unit to ensure that they are the same. I shall shortly be submitting for publication a paper which tightly defines the conditions and controls for the testing (and thus for the unit of activity) so that any laboratory following exactly the published method will get the correct result. This can then be used as the basis of a standard for Active Manuka Honey and can be used by regulatory authorities overseas to ensure that products on sale have the activity level claimed. If it is claimed that a laboratory has used the method then it can easily be verified if that is true, because with the tight specification of procedure exactly the same result should be obtained if the honey is re-tested.

The specifications in the method will ensure that there is no bias towards an incorrect result. For example, the new specification that checks should be made spectrophotometrically on the purity of the phenol standard will prevent a laboratory giving results that are consistently too high because their standard contains less phenol than is assumed, as can happen if the phenol has deteriorated with age. Another new specification will be that repeated assays are done. This is necessary so that allowance is made for the inherent margin of error and the variation in the many factors which cause deviation from the correct results. These are random (i.e. give no bias) so by repeated measurement it is possible to apply statistical analysis to estimate the correct result and the degree of confidence there can be that the true result will be within a particular degree of variance from the stated result. This has not been normal procedure in commercial assaying of honeys even though it is a basic scientific procedure. (It was not included in the method published by Allen et al. because that paper described an investigation of a very large number of samples of honey, seeking trends associated with floral type, so knowing the exact level of activity of single samples was not necessary.)

Research in the Honey Research Unit seeking improvement in the accuracy of the assay method for measuring the antibacterial activity of honey has been going on for many years. Some of the findings and new ideas have been implemented in the commercial testing over the years. Others have been recommended but not implemented, as published in the August 2008 issue of The New Zealand Beekeeper (pp 24-25). Since then we have done further work to identify the various reasons for the errors and variation that occur in the results, and to devise ways of eliminating them. Because funding for this work has not been forthcoming from the honey industry the research has been funded by the university. Consequently the IP from this further work belongs to the university. A proprietary assay giving more accurate and less variable results will be offered in the near future. With this, if the sample of honey supplied is truly representative of the bulk quantity the sample is taken from then beekeepers can have a more reliable measure of the activity of the honey when trading drums of honey, and to be able to confidently adjust or confirm the blending of drums in a stirred vat to get a batch with the desired activity level.

A condition of use of this new proprietary assay will be that the results are not to be used for rating the activity of honey sold in retail packs unless the producer is licensed to have the University of Waikato certification of activity on the packs. This new assay will be a service available only for beekeepers to know the activity of bulk quantities of honey. This is because there will also be offered by the University of Waikato a certification of the correctness of the rating of antibacterial activity of retail packs of honey. This certification will be done only after assay of samples of finished labelled retail packs with labels bearing the batch number, with proof of consistency of activity throughout the batch being required, so as remove any scope for error which could lead to consumers purchasing jars of honey with activity not true to label.

The certification will include a statement of the statistical confidence in the correctness of the rating, for example, “There is 99.9% certainty that the activity is no more than 0.1 units below what is stated.”

I have been approached by several companies over a number of years asking for the University of Waikato to provide such a certification of rating the activity of manuka honey that would be open to anyone producing the genuine article. I have resisted doing so because I have invested so much effort into educating the world’s consumers about the system I initially recommended to TRADENZ. However, because there is now so much confusion in the market place (see the recent article in the Daily Mail, a major UK daily newspaper, as an example: the time has come for the provision of a rating system that consumers can trust, that will easily allow them to distinguish genuine Active Manuka Honey.

This certification by the University of Waikato is expected to be readily recognised as trustworthy by consumers because there has been so much exposure of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in the news media. I have been filmed in 19 TV documentaries on manuka honey, contributed information for 7 others, filmed about manuka honey for 20 TV news programmes, interviewed for 14 radio news programmes, and have been interviewed in 38 other radio programmes. I have also been interviewed about manuka honey for 111 newspapers and 137 magazines, books and news websites. Most of these TV, radio and print media have been overseas. Discussion with buyers for companies in the health food trade overseas has indicated ready acceptance of the certification system because of the reputation of the Honey Research Unit and the recognition of the expertise of this group in the measurement of the antibacterial activity of honey.

Because the new proprietary assay of activity will give the same results when run in any laboratory, it will be possible to license overseas laboratories to operate the service and thus allow the university to certify honey exported in bulk and packed overseas, as long as the requirement is met of assays being done on labelled retail packs. This will give beekeepers more options for marketing the honey they produce, and at the same time hopefully will encourage reputable packing companies overseas to sell genuine Active Manuka Honey. The university will also make the proprietary assay available to regulatory authorities overseas so that they can easily check if manuka honey on sale in their countries genuinely does have the activity claimed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Manuka Honey Industry in Bitter Dispute Over Antibacterial Standard

Sticky Situation for Honey Industry
By Rob Stock, Sunday Star Times (New Zealand), 5/10/2009

The intense flavour of dark manuka honey was once so disliked it was added to cattle feed or flushed away.

Today it earns such a premium on the export market that fake manuka honey has become a serious problem. Industry sources say twice as much manuka honey is sold than is produced in New Zealand every year.

Instead of dealing with the problem, the $100 million industry is gripped by bitter in-fighting and legal feuding a situation so serious that National MP Paul Hutchison has called on industry leaders to set their differences aside before the business is tarnished beyond repair.

"The industry leaders must think of the collective good," he said. "The present situation is not good for anyone and it puts New Zealand's reputation at risk."

Brett Hewlett, chief executive of honey exporter Comvita, backs Hutchison.

"[The industry] has got all the potential of being a very large and sustainable industry for New Zealand, reforesting New Zealand and bringing employment to poorer communities. If we could just align our interests and stop the squabbling, everyone could benefit."

There are few signs of that happening.

The industry is at war and some of the industry's biggest names, including Comvita, are embroiled in court battles. Private investigators have been hired to snoop on rivals.

Underlying it all is the question of what makes manuka honey so special an antibacterial quality claimed to have health benefits and known, by the industry body at least, as Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF.

The warring goes back to a decision last year by the Active Manuka Honey Association to step up testing to quietly identify honey producers among its membership whose product was not true to the UMF label…

The industry body is also engaged in tit-for-tat sniping with another large producer, Manuka Health a falling out which followed when the association tested the company's honey and concluded that it was not always true to label.

Although the feuding is a financial drain on the association and the companies involved, the biggest risk to the manuka honey industry comes from the amount of dubious manuka honey on the shelves, and a warring industry cannot deal with that.

Quality manuka honeys can fetch $200 a kilo, and the high prices mean there's a great temptation to misrepresent the content...

Molan told the Sunday Star-Times: "Two-thirds of what is being sold isn't the genuine article."…

Rather than the warring easing, there are signs it could intensify as Active Manuka Honey Association's disputes have led to rivals setting up quality marks in opposition to UMF.

Waikato University plans to unveil its own testing regime and quality mark in the next few weeks in a bid to unseat UMF as the leading brand trusted by consumers.

Molan said the move was designed to save the industry and create a trusted quality mark that the manuka honey association did not control. "We are going ahead just to get some independence on this," Molan said.

He said the new university test was more accurate than the UMF tests, and the association was welcome to use the new tests, but it would not be allowed to decide who could or couldn't use it…

He was scathing about the other rival to UMF, the MGO test championed by Manuka Health. That test identifies the level of methylgloxal, the active substance in manuka honey, but Molan said it was "misleading", because the activity of methylgloxal in manuka honey depended on other substances in the honey, not the level of MGO alone.

There are other quality marks in existence, including the ULF mark from Australia, where honey producers are beginning to jump on the manuka bandwagon. Australia has species of manuka, including the "jelly bush".

But Comvita and Honey New Zealand, the two biggest producers, both remain backers of UMF, and have called on other producers to back the manuka honey association, which is facing steep legal bills in its battle with Watson & Co

Propolis Polyphenol, Flavonoid Content Varies with Plant Source

Chemical Variability in Propolis from Santiago del Estero, Argentina, Related to the Arboreal Environment as the Sources of Resins
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Volume 89, Number 6, April 2009 , pp. 978-983(6)

BACKGROUND: Propolis composition is extremely variable and depends on the plant resin sources that grow around the apiary. Polyphenols have been reported to be responsible of its pharmacological and biological properties. The contents of polyphenols and flavonoid aglycones were studied in propolis from different provenances to correlate these contents with the nature of the flora surrounding the hive.

RESULTS: Nineteen of these bioactive substances were identified in 30 samples classified into three arboreal categories according to their main species. A noticeable variability was observed in the concentration of each component depending on the plant origin of the samples. Higher amounts were found for pinocembrin (0.2-102.3 g kg−1), quercetin (0.08-86.6 g kg−1) and chrysin (0.8-18.8 g kg−1). Salicylic, 4-hydroxybenzoic, benzoic, ferulic and gallic acids were other remarkable constituents.

CONCLUSION: Statistical significant differences in polyphenol and flavonoid contents were observed among arboreal groups, while very strong linear correlations were found between polyphenol and flavonoid contents for all the samples as well as for all the groups.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bee Pollen Loads Studied for Heavy Metal Content

Concentration of Chosen Trace Elements of Toxic Properties in Bee Pollen Loads
Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2 (2009), 265-272

The aim of this study was to determine the rate of bioaccumulation of chosen heavy metals (As, Pb, Cd, Hg) in fresh pollen obtained in the form of pollen loads. The research material were samples of fresh pollen obtained in stationary apiaries located in two regions: agricultural woodland and a former military airfield. Samples were collected in a period of July – August 2005 and 2006. Samples were mineralized by microwave method. Quantitative analysis of examined metals (arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury) was done using plasma spectrometry (ICP)…

Mercury and arsenic appeared to be metals of toxic properties that do not cause any toxicological problems in pollen from the agricultural woodland and airfield regions since their concentration was very low. High concentration of cadmium in pollen from the agricultural woodland deserves attention. Differences in concentrations of analyzed elements between regions may be used as bioindicators of environmental contamination with elements of toxic properties.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Newly-Identified Propolis Compound Shows Anti-Cancer, Antimicrobial Activity

Identification of a Bioactive Compound Isolated from Brazilian Propolis Type 6
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript

A prenylated benzophenone, hyperibone A, was isolated from the hexane fraction of Brazilian propolis type 6. Its structure was determined by spectral analysis including 2D NMR.

This compound exhibited cytotoxic activity against HeLa tumor cells (IC50 = 0.1756 μM), strong antimicrobial activity (MIC range – 0.73– 6.6 μg/mL; MBC range – 2.92–106 μg/mL) against Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus, Streptococcus oralis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Actinomyces naeslundii, and the results of its cytotoxic and antimicrobial activities were considered good.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Video: Beekeeping Boosts Economy in Jammu and Kashmir

Video: Beekeeping Boosts Economy in Jammu and Kashmir

Harinagar Border,May 4 (ANI): The newly opted bee farming in Harinagar is turning out to be a profitable venture for farmers and is also contributing hugely to the state's economy. The farmers residing near the Indo Pakistan international border are processing honey. They have adopted the profession of apiculture recently and it is yielding them impressive economic benefits. The farmers said that they are earning almost 60,000 rupees yearly by selling the processed honey across the country.

Fears of Honeybee Demise Unfounded: Study

But biologists 'don't present the whole picture,' Guelph bee expert says
By Joseph Hall, The Star (Canada), 5/7/2009

A frightening buzz over the imminent demise of honeybees – and the disappearance of their critical pollinating prowess – is unfounded, according to a new Canadian-led study that shows their global numbers actually growing.

High-profile stories during the past three years detailing the mysterious decimation of thousands of bee keeper colonies had led to fears that the human food supply was being imperilled by a "pollination crisis," says the study, which appears today in the journal Current Biology.

"But the declines in the U.S.A., some European countries and the former U.S.S.R. are more than offset by large increases elsewhere, including Canada, Argentina, Spain and especially China," says University of Calgary biologist Lawrence Harder…

Did You Know You Can Use Honey to Treat a Wound on Your Pet?

K9 Magazine, 5/1/2009

National Honey Week takes place from May 4 to 11 this year, but did you know that honey can also be used to treat wounds in your pets?

Honey has been known for its healing properties for thousands of years, but with the advancement of 20th Century medicine and the advent of antibiotics, honey’s medicinal qualities were forgotten. However, it has recently re-emerged, with scientific studies showing honey to be effective on abscesses, burns and surgical wounds.

The benefits of medical grade Manuka honey, such as Activon, available from Dechra Veterinary Products through your veterinary practice, are now being recognised and used by the veterinary profession to treat wounds and encourage healing…