Bacteria, biofilm and honey: a study of the effects of honey on 'planktonic' and biofilm-embedded chronic wound bacteria.Scand J Infect Dis 2009; 41(5):341-7SJ
Chronically infected wounds are a costly source of suffering. An important factor in the failure of a sore to heal is the presence of multiple species of bacteria, living cooperatively in highly organized biofilms. The biofilm protects the bacteria from antibiotic therapy and the patient's immune response. Honey has been used as a wound treatment for millennia. The components responsible for its antibacterial properties are now being elucidated. The study aimed to determine the effects of different concentrations of 'Medihoney' therapeutic honey and Norwegian Forest Honey 1) on the real-time growth of typical chronic wound bacteria; 2) on biofilm formation; and 3) on the same bacteria already embedded in biofilm. Reference strains of MRSE, MRSA, ESBL Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were incubated with dilution series of the honeys in microtitre plates for 20 h. Growth of the bacteria was assessed by measuring optical density every 10 min. Growth curves, biofilm formation and minimum bactericidal concentrations are presented. Both honeys were bactericidal against all the strains of bacteria. Biofilm was penetrated by biocidal substances in honey. Reintroduction of honey as a conventional wound treatment may help improve individual wound care, prevent invasive infections, eliminate colonization, interrupt outbreaks and thereby preserve current antibiotic stocks.