Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Microbes May Give Manuka Honey its Active Ingredient

Scientists delve into manuka flower microbes in bid to find honey's magic ingredient

Jamie Morton
Science Reporter, NZ Herald

BUY Concentrated Propolis in Veggie Capsules 

Our understanding of gut health has ballooned as we've learned more about the communities of beneficial bugs that live within each of us.

We now know this microbiome contributes to everything from immunity and obesity to mental health.

Now scientists suspect microbes might also be what gives one of New Zealand's most lucrative exports, manuka honey, its active ingredient.

The native manuka plant acts as the substrate for the unique and valuable honey, which contains high levels of a compound called methylglyoxal.

This is better known to consumers around the world by the different systems that producers use to grade manuka honey – MGO or unique manuka factor, or UMF.

Methylglyoxal is formed from nectar rich in a substance called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA.

"We do not yet understand why some flowers on some manuka plants produce high levels of DHA and wonder if the micro-organisms in the flowers might contribute to this," said Dr Hayley Ridgway, a senior scientist at Plant & Food Research.

"Our previous work has shown that manuka is a plant for which microbes significantly impact growth and chemistry. We also know that DHA can be made by micro-organisms."

In a just-launched study, Ridgway and fellow researchers from Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Lincoln University aimed to find out if their theory was correct...

No comments: