Quality mark based on honey antibacterial activity
MIC = minimal inhibitory concentration
The lowest concentration inhibiting bacterial growth
"Medové laboratórium" (further Honey laboratory) is looking for answers for puzzling questions such as: Why is honey healthy? How do we recognize high quality honey? Where is the balance between happy bees, satisfied beekeepers and honey consumers?
Our long-term research on bee products has led us to find that the current legislative standards that define the quality of honey in Slovakia and Europe are insufficient to detect all forms of adulteration or degradation of honey and do not reflect its biological potential. For this reason, we have developed and optimized new methods for evaluating the quality of honey with regard to its antibacterial effect.
Our mission is to deepen the knowledge about the quality and biological properties of honey by performing unique laboratory tests and educational activities. We believe that our activities will support small as well as large beekeepers with high quality honey and bring consumers long-awaited information that will help to choose high quality honey.
Which honey has high quality?
Honey is a perfect combination of substances that come from bees and plants, which are contained in a sweet solution of concentrated nectar. All these substances contribute to the unique biological properties of honey.
The phrase "quality honey" may characterize its colour, taste, smell or physicochemical parameters. We consider "quality honey" to be honey that has retained all its natural biological properties.
It is very difficult to distinguish real quality honeys from diluted, heated or artificial honeys. Our perceptions cannot help us, and in recent years even physicochemical standards are not enough.
What are biological activities of honey?
Every honey, regardless of its type (e.g. acacia, linden, flower, honeydew and others), possess antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and, last but not least, immunomodulatory and wound-healing activities. Antibacterial activity is the most scientifically studied biological property. Each honey has antibacterial activity, unless it has been reduced or completely lost by improper handling, inappropriate heat treatment, etc.
There are honeys (e.g. honeydew) which have a higher antibacterial potential and therefore have potential use in medicine.
What is medical grade honey?
The difference between natural and medical honey is in its sterility. Honey set for medical use is free of bacterial spores and viable bacteria and yeasts using ionizing radiation, which does not adversely affect its biological properties. Currently, medical honeys are registered as medical devices intended for topical treatment of wounds and burns.
There are several products based on medical honey. The most important are manuka honeys, but there are also other types, such as chestnut or pine honeys, that are used as a basis for medical honeys.