A substance made from tree resin by bees and used to build their hives could help to tackle hospital bug MRSA, according to new research.
In a study by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, bee glue or propolis was found to stop the growth of bacteria.
The researchers, together with the Nature Laboratory in North Yorkshire, analysed two compounds propolin C and propolin D on 15 strains of MRSA.
The compounds both stopped the bacteria from growing but more tests will be needed to see whether they can kill the bacteria, the researchers concluded.
The results of the study, published in the Phytotherapy Research journal, were released to mark Universities Week, which aims to increase public awareness of the varied role of UK universities. The week runs until June 20.
Leading the study was Veronique Seidel, a lecturer in natural-products chemistry at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.
She said: “We investigated propolis, as part of a programme aimed at discovering new antibiotics from natural sources, because bees use it as an antiseptic glue to seal gaps between honeycombs and preserve their hives from microbial contamination.
“Bee glue is also a natural remedy widely used in folk medicine for a variety of ailments but little has been known until now about its capacity to target MRSA.”
Copyright Press Association 2010
University of Strathclyde