Journal Article

The antibacterial activity of honey against coagulase-negative staphylococci

V. M. French, R. A. Cooper and P. C. Molan

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 56, issue 1, pages 228-231
Published in print July 2005 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
The antibacterial activity of honey against coagulase-negative staphylococci

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  • Medical Oncology
  • Critical Care


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Objectives: Development of antibiotic-resistant strains of coagulase-negative staphylococci has complicated the management of infections associated with the use of invasive medical devices, and innovative treatment and prophylactic options are needed. Honey is increasingly being used to treat infected wounds, but little is known about its effectiveness against coagulase-negative staphylococci. The aim of this study was to determine the minimum active dilution of two standardized, representative honeys for 18 clinical isolates of coagulase-negative staphylococci.

Methods: An agar incorporation technique was used to determine the minimum active dilution, with dilution steps of 1% (v/v) honey [or steps of 5% (v/v) of a sugar syrup matching the osmotic effect of honey]. The plates were inoculated with 10 μL spots of cultures of the isolates.

Results: The honeys were inhibitory at dilutions down to 3.6 ± 0.7% (v/v) for the pasture honey, 3.4 ± 0.5% (v/v) for the manuka honey and 29.9 ± 1.9% (v/v) for the sugar syrup.

Conclusions: Typical honeys are about eight times more potent against coagulase-negative staphylococci than if bacterial inhibition were due to their osmolarity alone. Therefore, honey applied to skin at the insertion points of medical devices may have a role in the treatment or prevention of infections by coagulase-negative staphylococci.

Keywords: invasive medical devices; antibiotic resistance; minimum active dilution; manuka honey; device-related infections

Journal Article.  2093 words. 

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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