Medical-grade honey kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria in vitro and eradicates skin colonization

Paulus H. S. Kwakman, Johannes P. C. van den Akker, Ahmet Güçlü, Hamid Aslami, Jan M. Binnekade, Leonie de Boer, Laura Boszhard, Frederique Paulus, Pauline Middelhoek, Anje A. te Velde, Christina M. J. E. Vandenbroucke-Grauls, Marcus J. Schultz, Sebastian A. J. Zaat

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BACKGROUND: Antibiotic resistance among microbes urgently necessitates the development of novel antimicrobial agents. Since ancient times, honey has been used successfully for treatment of infected wounds, because of its antibacterial activity. However, large variations in the in vitro antibacterial activity of various honeys have been reported and hamper its acceptance in modern medicine. METHODS: We assessed the in vitro bactericidal activity of Revamil (Bfactory), a medical-grade honey produced under controlled conditions, and assessed its efficacy for reduction of forearm skin colonization in healthy volunteers in a within-subject-controlled trial. RESULTS: With Bacillus subtilis as a test strain, we demonstrated that the variation in bactericidal activity of 11 batches of medical-grade honey was <2-fold. Antibiotic-susceptible and -resistant isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae, and Klebsiella oxytoca were killed within 24 h by 10%-40% (vol/vol) honey. After 2 days of application of honey, the extent of forearm skin colonization in healthy volunteers was reduced 100-fold (P < .001), and the numbers of positive skin cultures were reduced by 76% (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Revamil is a promising topical antimicrobial agent for prevention or treatment of infections, including those caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1677-1682
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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