African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5173


Which bee honey components contribute to its antimicrobial activity? A review

Elizabeth Ortiz-Vázquez*, Luis Cuevas-Glory, Guido Zapata-Baas, José Martínez-Guevara and Jesús Ramón-Sierra
Instituto Tecnológico de Mérida, Av. Tecnológico s/n carretera Mérida-Progreso, Yucatán, México.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 12 December 2013
  •  Published: 29 December 2013


The antimicrobial activity of bee honey is one of its most studied biological properties, with an extensive spectrum of activity against medically important microorganisms. The specificity of this activity depends on the components of the honey, which vary according to its floral and entomological origin. The action mechanisms of the most transcendental compounds for honey antimicrobial activity; acidity, osmolarity and hydrogen peroxide, are reported. Recent studies have demonstrated the existence of other compounds contributing to the antimicrobial activity of honey such as, enzymes, antimicrobial peptides, phenolic compounds and Methylglyoxal. This article describes both the most important therapeutic properties and the components attributing antimicrobial activity to bee honey, as well as the microorganisms which this effect has been evaluated and their respective minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). In conclusion, it has been demonstrated that the antimicrobial activity and other biological activities of bee honey such as antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties are conferred by a group of components intrinsic to honey and it depends of the botanical, geographical and entomological origin of the honey.


Key words: Bee honey, antibacterial activity, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC).