Antibacterial activity of selected varieties of Malaysian honey against Escherichia coli: A comparative study


  • Mohammad A. Alkafaween Faculty of Health Sciences; Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Terengganu, Malaysia.
  • Hamid A. Nagi Al-Jamal
  • Abu Bakar Mohmd Hilmi



Antibacterial activity, Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), Minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC), Time-kill curve, Malaysian honey, Escherichia coli, RT-qPCR


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate antibacterial activity of three varieties of Malaysian honey; Tualang honey (TH), Gelam honey (GH), and Acacia honey (AH) against Escherichia coli.

Methods: The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of the honey samples against E. coli were determined by the broth microdilution assay in the presence and absence of catalase enzyme. The mode of inhibition of honey samples against E. coli was investigated by the effect of time on viability. Impacts of the honeys on the expression profiles of the selected genes of E. coli were examined using RT-qPCR analysis.

Results: The results showed that TH and GH honey possessed lowest MIC and MBC values against E. coli with 20% and 25% (w/v) respectively. Highest MIC and MBC values were observed by AH honey against E. coli with 25% (w/v) and 50% (w/v) values respectively. Among the tested honeys, TH and GH exhibited the highest total antibacterial activity and the highest levels of peroxide-dependent activity. Time–kill curve demonstrated a bactericidal rather than a bacteriostatic effect; with a 2-log reduction estimated within 540 min. Viable cells were not recovered after 9 hours exposure to MIC of all honey-treated. The RT-qPCR analysis showed that all honey-treated cells share a similar overall pattern of gene expression, with a trend toward reduced expression of the virulence genes of interest.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that Malaysian honey have the potential to be effective inhibitor and virulence modulator of E. coli via multiple molecular targets.


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