Background: Honey has been discussed as a therapeutic option in wound healing since ancient time. It might be also an alternative to the commonly used antimicrobials in periodontitis treatment. The in-vitro study was aimed to determine the antimicrobial efficacy against Porphyromonas gingivalis as a major periodontopathogen.
Methods: One Manuka and one domestic beekeeper honey have been selected for the study. As a screening, MICs of the honeys against 20 P. gingivalis strains were determined. Contents of methylglyoxal and hydrogen peroxide as the potential antimicrobial compounds were determined. These components (up to 100 mg/l), propolis (up to 200 mg/l) as well as the two honeys (up to 10% w/v) were tested against four P. gingivalis strains in planktonic growth and in a single-species biofilm.
Results: 2% of Manuka honey inhibited the growth of 50% of the planktonic P. gingivalis, the respective MIC50 of the German beekeeper honey was 5%. Manuka honey contained 1.87 mg/kg hydrogen peroxide and the domestic honey 3.74 mg/kg. The amount of methylglyoxal was found to be 2 mg/kg in the domestic honey and 982 mg/kg in the Manuka honey. MICs for hydrogen peroxide were 10 mg/l - 100 mg/l, for methylglyoxal 5 - 20 mg/l, and for propolis 20 mg/l - 200 mg/l. 10% of both types of honey inhibited the formation of P. gingivalis biofilms and reduced the numbers of viable bacteria within 42 h-old biofilms. Neither a total prevention of biofilm formation nor a complete eradication of a 42 h-old biofilm by any of the tested compounds and the honeys were found.
Conclusions: Honey acts antibacterial against P. gingivalis. The observed pronounced effects of Manuka honey against planktonic bacteria but not within biofilm can be attributed to methylglyoxal as the characteristic antimicrobial component.