The increased incidence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics has generated renewed interest in "traditional" antimicrobials, such as honey. This paper reports on a study comparing physico-chemical, antioxidant and antibacterial characteristics (that potentially contribute in part, to the functional wound healing activity) of Cameroonian honeys with those of Manuka honey. Agar well diffusion was used to generate zones of inhibition against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus while broth dilutions were used to study the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs). Non-peroxide activity was investigated by catalase for hydrogen peroxide reduction. The Cameroonian honeys demonstrated functional properties similar to Manuka honey, with strong correlations between the antioxidant activity and total phenol content of each honey. They were also as effective as Manuka honey in reducing bacteria load with an MIC of 10% w/v against all three bacteria and exhibited non-peroxide antimicrobial activity. These Cameroon honeys have potential therapeutic activity and may contain compounds with activity against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Antibacterial agents from such natural sources present a potential affordable treatment of wound infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria, which are a leading cause of amputations and deaths in many African countries.
Keywords: Cameroonian honey; Manuka honey; anti-oxidation activity; antibacterial activity; antibacterial natural products; antibiotic resistance; infection; minimum inhibitory concentration; wound healing.