How does Honey Prevent Bacterial Growth?

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There are four main components that explain the antibacterial activity: • Osmotic effect: The high sugar content of honey means that there are very few water molecules available making it difficult for micro-organisms to establish. In fully ripened honey no yeast species are able to grow and the growth of many species of bacteria is completely inhibited. • Acidity: The pH of honey is characteristically quite low (3.2-4.5), which is low enough to inhibit many animal pathogens and therefore be a significant antibacterial factor. • Hydrogen Peroxide: When bees are turning nectar to honey they secrete a glucose oxidase enzyme. One of the by products of the resultant reaction is hydrogen peroxide. When honey is diluted enzyme activity increases giving a 'slow release' antiseptic at a level which is antibacterial but not tissue damaging. • Phytochemical Factors: The above factors can not account for all of the antibacterial activity observed. There have been several chemicals with ... more
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