According tomedia reports, honey has been used since ancient times to promote the healing of wounds. Now it has been added to a surgical mesh coating that can help prevent postoperative infections. All forms of honey are thought to be antibacterial because they contain chemicals that produce hydrogen peroxide. Manuka honey is special in that it also contains an organic compound that kills bacteria, called methyl acetaldehyde.
With this in mind, an international team of scientists set out to develop an electro-woven nano-coating for surgical networks that slowly releases medical-grade Manuka honey over time. Although common uncoated mesh tablets are commonly used to promote the healing of soft tissue in the body after surgery, they also increase the risk of infection because bacterial biofilms form on their surface.
The new coating consists of eight negatively charged honey nanolayers, alternating between the other eight positively charged biocompatible polymer nanolayers. The idea is that as the polymer layer degrades harmlessly into the body, the fresh honey layer is exposed, killing the bacteria that could have settled on the mesh.
In laboratory tests, nano-coatings were found to protect polymer mesh samples from harmful bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli, which can last up to three weeks. By then, the patient’s internal wounds should have healed.
Dr Piergiorgio Gentile of Newcastle University and Dr Elena Mancuso of the University of Ulster led the study. “These results are really exciting,” says Gentile. Honey has been used to treat infected wounds for thousands of years, but this is the first time it has been shown to be effective against cell infections in the body. “
A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Frontiers.