Medical-grade honey enriched with antimicrobial peptides has enhanced activity against antibiotic-resistant pathogens

Kwakman, P.H.S.; Boer, L. den; Ruyter-Spira, C.; Creemers-Molenaar, T.; Helsper, J.P.F.G.; Vandenbroucke-Grauls, C.M.J.E.; Zaat, S.A.J.; Velde, A.A. te


Honey has potent activity against both antibioticsensitive and -resistant bacteria, and is an interesting agent for topical antimicrobial application to wounds. As honey is diluted by wound exudate, rapid bactericidal activity up to high dilution is a prerequisite for its successful application. We investigated the kinetics of the killing of antibioticresistant bacteria by RS honey, the source for the production of Revamil® medical-grade honey, and we aimed to enhance the rapid bactericidal activity of RS honey by enrichment with its endogenous compounds or the addition of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). RS honey killed antibiotic-resistant isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecium, and Burkholderia cepacia within 2 h, but lacked such rapid activity against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli. It was not feasible to enhance the rapid activity of RS honey by enrichment with endogenous compounds, but RS honey enriched with 75 µM of the synthetic peptide Bactericidal Peptide 2 (BP2) showed rapid bactericidal activity against all species tested, including MRSA and ESBL E. coli, at up to 10–20-fold dilution. RS honey enriched with BP2 rapidly killed all bacteria tested and had a broader spectrum of bactericidal activity than either BP2 or honey alone.