Manuka honey inhibits adhesion and invasion of medically important wound bacteria in vitro

Future Microbiol. 2013 Dec;8(12):1523-36. doi: 10.2217/fmb.13.126.


Aim: To characterize the effect of manuka honey on medically important wound bacteria in vitro, focusing on its antiadhesive properties.

Materials & methods: Crystal violet biofilm assays, fluorescent microscopy, protein adhesion assay and gentamicin protection assay were used to determine the impact of manuka honey on biofilm formation, human protein binding and adherence to/invasion into human keratinocytes.

Results: Manuka honey effectively disrupted and caused extensive cell death in biofilms of Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pyogenes. Sublethal doses of manuka honey inhibited bacterial adhesion to the fibronectin, fibrinogen and collagen. Manuka honey impaired adhesion of laboratory and clinical isolates of S. aureus, P. aeruginosa and S. pyogenes to human keratinocytes in vitro, and inhibited invasion by S. pyogenes and homogeneous vancomycin intermediate S. aureus.

Conclusion: Manuka honey can directly affect bacterial cells embedded in a biofilm and exhibits antiadhesive properties against three common wound pathogens.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Honey / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / microbiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / drug effects*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / physiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / metabolism
  • Wounds and Injuries / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents