Antimicrobial activity of organic honey fights food pathogenic bacteria

Photo credit: Evan Bench Photo credit: Evan Bench

A recent study published in Organic Agriculture shows that some organic honey has natural antimicrobial activity that can combat the growth of Clostridium perfringens, a food pathogen bacterium known to cause food spoilage and illness in humans and animals. Due to increasing levels of antibiotic resistance in C. perfringens, the discovery and development of new antimicrobials are essential. In this study, researchers investigated five different organic honeys from Finland, one from Argentina, and one from Hungary to determine their effectiveness in combating C. perfringens. The organic honeys with the highest antimicrobial activity were from Finland with varying levels of antimicrobial activity likely determined by the plants from which the bees collected their honey. One honey sample had no effect on C. perfringrens, likely due to heating during processing which may have destroyed the active antimicrobial compounds. Overall, this study showed that organic honey can be effective in fighting C. perfringens, and has the potential to be used clinically to fight this foodborne bacterium.