“Bacteria found in honeybee stomachs could be used as alternative to antibiotics,” reports The Independent.
The world desperately needs new antibiotics to counter the growing threat of bacteria developing resistance to drug treatment. A new study has found that 13 bacteria strains living in honeybees’ stomachs can reduce the growth of drug-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, in the laboratory.
The researchers examined antibiotic-resistant bacteria and yeast that can infect human wounds such as MRSA and some types of E. coli. They found each to be susceptible to some of the 13 honeybee lactic acid bacteria (LAB). These LAB were more effective if used together.
However, while the researchers found that the LAB could have more of an effect than existing antibiotics, they did not test whether this difference was likely to be due to chance, so few solid conclusions can be drawn from this research.
The researchers also found that each LAB produced different levels of toxic substances that may have been responsible for killing the bacteria.
Unfortunately, the researchers had previously found that the LAB are only present in fresh honey for a few weeks before they die, and are not present in shop-bought honey.
However, the researchers did find low levels of LAB-produced proteins and free fatty acids in shop-bought honey. They went on to suggest that these substances might be key to the long-held belief that even shop-bought honey has antibacterial properties, but that this warrants further research.