Author(s): Taormina PJ, Niemira BA, Beuchat LR
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Abstract Antimicrobial activity of honey has been attributed to hydrogen peroxide, which is produced by naturally occurring glucose oxidase, and phenolic compounds, although lethality of and inhibition by these and other components against microorganisms vary greatly, depending on the floral source of nectar. This study was undertaken to compare honeys from six floral sources for their inhibitory activity against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella typhimurium, Shigella sonnei, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus. A disc assay revealed that development of zones of inhibition of growth depends on the type and concentration of honey, as well as the test pathogen. Growth of B. cereus was least affected. The inhibition of growth of S. sonnei, L. monocytogenes, and S. aureus in 25\% solutions of honeys was reduced by treating solutions with catalase, indicating that hydrogen peroxide contributes to antimicrobial activity. Darker colored honeys were generally more inhibitory than light colored honeys. Darker honeys also contained higher antioxidant power. Since antimicrobial activity of the darker colored test honeys was not eliminated by catalase treatment, non-peroxide components such as antioxidants may contribute to controlling the growth of some foodborne pathogens. The antibacterial properties of honeys containing hydrogen peroxide and characterized by a range of antioxidant power need to be validated using model food systems.
This article was published in Int J Food Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Food Processing & Technology