Objectives: Honey is an ancient wound remedy that has recently been introduced into modern clinical practice in developed countries. Manuka honey inhibits growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by preventing cell division. In Gram-negative bacteria a synergistic interaction between honey and antibiotics has been suggested. We aimed to determine the effect of manuka honey on oxacillin resistance in MRSA.
Methods: Inhibition of MRSA by manuka honey and oxacillin separately and in combination was tested by disc diffusion, Etest strips, serial broth dilution, chequerboards and growth curves.
Results: Manuka honey and oxacillin interacted synergistically to inhibit MRSA. Manuka honey reversed oxacillin resistance in MRSA, and down-regulation of mecR1 was found in cells treated with manuka honey.
Conclusions: Microarray analysis showed that exposure of MRSA to inhibitory concentrations of manuka honey resulted in down-regulation of mecR1. Here we demonstrated that subinhibitory concentrations of honey in combination with oxacillin restored oxacillin susceptibility to MRSA. Other honey and antibiotic combinations must now be evaluated.