Prebiotics and human health: The state-of-the-art and future perspectives

By Patricia L. Conway

Prebiotics stimulate growth and/or activity of some presumably beneficial colonic bacteria and thereby have the potential to improve health, possibly through the actions of fermentation end products including butyrate. Some ingested oligosaccharides and resistant starches elevate levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, and decrease bacteroides, enterobacteria and clostridia. Rodent
studies have shown that prebiotic consumption can protect against pathogens, reduce the risk of colon cancer, enhance mineral absorption and influence lipogenesis. However confirmation of effects in humans is needed in clinical studies. With this wide range of potential applications, prebiotics need to be broadly classified based on microbiological and physiological function. Studies investigating mechanisms of action and the combined effects of prebiotics and probiotics are sparse. Resistant starch also functions as a culture protagonist because it provides enhanced bacterial survival when combined with probiotics. With the availability of a variety of prebiotics and probiotics, the potential exists for providing combinations targeted for specific health related benefits.

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A convenient new analysis of dihydroxyacetone and methylglyoxal applied to Australian Leptospermum honeys

Windsor, Pappalardo, Brooks, Williams and Manley-Harris

Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy Vol. 4(1), pp. 6-11, January 2012

This paper shows Australian manuka exhibits significant antibacterial activity as the result of chemical conversion of dihydroxyacetone from the nectar of certain Leptospermum species to methylglyoxal. This is the same process that occurs in NZ manuka honey.

However, there are only two species of Leptospermum in NZ, which is a significantly smaller landmass than Australia, and here there are over 80 species of Leptospermum.

We already know that many Australia Leptospermum honeys have significant levels of activity (equivalent to, or greater than, NZ manuka samples).

And there is currently a large, multi-centre study being undertaken to locate even more sources of active Australian Leptospermum honey.


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Flavonoids, phenolic acids and abscisic acid in Australian and New Zealand Leptospermum honeys

Flavonoids, phenolic acids and abscisic acid of Australian and New Zealand Leptospermum honeys were analyzed by HPLC.

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The antibacterial activity of honey derived from Australian flora

Julie Irish, Shona Blair, Dee A. Carter*

School of Molecular Bioscience, University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia 

Chronic wound infections and antibiotic resistance are driving interest in antimicrobial treatments that have generally been considered complementary, including antimicrobially active honey. Australia has unique native flora and produces honey with a wide range of different physicochemical properties. In this study we surveyed 477 honey samples, derived from native and exotic plants from various regions of Australia, for their antibacterial activity using an established screening protocol. A level of activity considered potentially therapeutically useful was found in 274 (57%) of the honey samples, with exceptional activity seen in samples derived from marri (Corymbia calophylla), jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and jellybush (Leptospermum polygalifolium). In most cases the antibacterial activity was attributable to hydrogen peroxide produced by the bee-derived enzyme glucose oxidase. Non-hydrogen peroxide activity was detected in 80 (16.8%) samples, and was most consistently seen in honey produced from Leptospermum spp. Testing over time found the hydrogen peroxide dependent activity in honey decreased, in some cases by 100%, and this activity was more stable at 4uC than at 25uC. In contrast, the non-hydrogen peroxide activity of Leptospermum honey samples increased, and this was greatest in samples stored at 25uC. The stability of non-peroxide activity from other honeys was more variable, suggesting this activity may have a different cause. We conclude that many Australian honeys have clinical potential, and that further studies into the composition and stability of their active constituents are warranted.

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Honey has an antifungal effect against Candida species


*School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and Department of Medical Mycology and Parasitology, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.

The incidence of Candida infections is escalating worldwide. The serious nature of these infections is compounded by increasing levels of drug resistance. We report that certain honeys have significant antifungal activity against clinical isolates of Candida species. Importantly, the minimum inhibitory concentration of these honeys would be achievable in a clinical setting.

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The unusual antibacterial activity of medical-grade Leptospermum honey: antibacterial spectrum, resistance and transcriptome analysis

S. E. Blair & N. N. Cokcetin & E. J. Harry & D. A. Carter

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis (2009) 28:1199–1208

This paper is the first publication to show that bacteria can’t develop resistance to Leptospermum honey – an incredibly important finding, with huge medical implications.

Antibacterial resistance is arguably one of the largest issues in modern medicine, and an increased use of this type of honey would help to combat the issue in certain situations. As well as providing much needed options for the treatment of certain infections.

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Australia's biosecurity future


Commercial honey bees reduce the fecundity of an Australian native bee


Demeter International Bee Standards 2010


Exploring the Land - leptospermum plantings

The images below illustrate the Gather By team exploring the land at Myall Lakes for one of our first leptospermum plantings. It is essential that we select the best land to plant our seedlings to ensure that the chance of successful growth is maximised.

These pictures depict the starting point for Gather By marking the beginning of something beautiful. 


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