Antiacanthamoebic properties of natural and marketed honey in Pakistan
Authors: Farzana Abubakar Yousuf, Malik Hassan Mehmood, Abdul Malik, Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui, Naveed Ahmed Khan
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Objective: To determine antiacanthamoebic activity of natural and marketed honey
Methods: Natural honey samples were collected directly from the bee hive and marketed
honey samples were purchased from the local market in Karachi, Pakistan. Both honey
samples were tested for their flavonoid content (quercetin equivalent per gram of the
extract) and phenolic content (gallic acid equivalent per gram). Furthermore, their antioxidant
activity was determined by measuring 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl. Using
amoebistatic and amoebicidal assays, the effects of honey samples were tested against
growth and viability of Acanthamoeba parasites.
Results: Natural honey exhibited potent amoebistatic and amoebicidal effects, in a
concentration-dependent manner. Honey-treated Acanthamoeba castellanii showed loss
of acanthopodia, following which amoebae detached, rounded up, reduced in size,
decreased in cytoplasmic mass and they were observed floating in the culture medium.
Importantly, honey-treated amoebae did not revive when inoculated in fresh growth
medium, however, glycerol-treated amoebae exhibited viable trophozoite and active
growth. In contrast, marketed honey samples varied in their efficacy against Acanthamoeba
castellanii. The proportion of flavonoid, as determined by quercetin measurements
and the proportion of phenolic, as determined by gallic acid measurements was higher in
natural honey compared with marketed honey. Similarly, the antioxidant activity, as
determined by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging activity was higher in natural
honey vs. marketed honey.
Conclusions: This study shows that natural honey has antiacanthamoebic properties and
possesses higher flavonoid, phenolic and antioxidant properties compared with the
marketed honey. These findings are of concern to the public, health officials, and to the
manufacturers regarding production of honey for medical applications.