Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scientists to Study Welsh Honey for New Superbug Drugs

Madeleine Brindley, WalesOnline, 6/13/2011

Beekeepers are being urged to send scientists a sample of their home produce as they search for a Welsh “super honey”.

A team at Cardiff University believe by studying locally-produced honey they may stumble across one which is capable of fighting antibiotic-resistant infections.
The researchers at the Welsh School of Pharmacy and the National Botanic Garden of Wales are working together to test the honey samples and screen them for new plant sources of medicines.

This information will be used to identify plants which could eventually be developed into new medicines.

Professor Les Baillie, who is leading the research at Cardiff University, said: “We know different honeys have different properties but no one has done a comprehensive study of honey from Wales.

“The properties of honey will depend on where the bees have been feeding.

“About 70% of the drugs we use today are from plants – plants are a rich source of drugs.
“If we don’t look, we won’t find – it may be that just one honey in thousands will have the properties we’re looking for so the more samples we get, the better.”

Each of the 200g samples sent in by beekeepers will be tested by Cardiff University against two of the most common hospital-acquired infections – MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales will identify the plants which contributed to the most powerful honeys using a DNA profiling process being developed as part of the Barcode Wales project, which has DNA barcoded the flowering plants of Wales.

The identified plants found in the honey will then be studied for the potential to develop new drugs…

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