Manuka honey is Britain’s secret weapon against chemical attacks


Manuka honey could be used in masks or personal protective equipment for soldiers. photo / 123rf

Manuka honey It has been lauded as a golden superfood for warding off colds, healing wounds and soothing sore throats.

Now, scientists at Porton Down plan to harness its antibacterial properties by creating a manuka gas mask that could be vital in defending against airborne biological and chemical attacks.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has filed a patent application which suggests that honey could be used as a “glue” to “catch and neutralise” toxic toxins, chemicals and viruses such as Covid-19.

Manuka honey is produced when bees feed on the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), a plant that produces a compound with potent antibacterial properties.


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22 page application, seen by Wireshows that honey could be deployed as one of several “sticky” layers applied to filters mounted on masks or personal protective equipment.

The document, prepared by the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, the science arm of the Ministry of Defence, explained that a “maze-like zigzag” with “wavy ridges” embedded inside gas mask filters could be coated with “adhesive layers”. Is. Honey.

The antibacterial properties would then help to “neutralize the threat”.

The patent, which is in the concept stage and has yet to be tested, states: “Preferably, ‘at least one layer’ comprises manuka honey. Manuka honey is a viscous material with antimicrobial properties, and the invention specifically Suitable for application as an adhesive layer in K filters.


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Explaining the zigzag filter, the patent adds that “the surface of each curved element facing the direction of the dynamic airflow has an adhesive layer consisting of an adhesive strip coated with manuka honey”.

In another possible design, honey is coated on an “absorbent tissue”.

New Zealand honey sales to the EU have increased dramatically in recent years.  Photo / Martin Sykes
New Zealand honey sales to the EU have increased dramatically in recent years. Photo / Martin Sykes

The document, which has been filed with the Intellectual Property Office, states: “Passing dynamic airflow over absorbent tissue ensures that particulate matter in the dynamic airflow is captured by the Manuka honey, thus providing dynamic airflow.” The flow is filtered.”

Celebrities such as actress Scarlett Johansson, singer Katherine Jenkins and tennis player Novak Djokovic have praised the virtues of honey as a superfood.

Methylglyoxal, or MGO, is the component in manuka honey that has been proven to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. The higher the concentration of MGO, the stronger the antibacterial effect.

In the UK, Selfridges sells Rare Harvest New Zealand Manuka with the highest rating of 1700 MGO for £1349 (NZ$2710) for a 230 gram jar.

Despite honey being expensive for UK consumers, the MoD application says it is a relatively cheap product compared to man-made chemicals used to combat airborne hazards.

The patent document says it could prove particularly useful for poor countries struggling to deal with a viral pandemic.

Many health benefits have been attributed to Manuka honey. In 2014, Swiss researchers said that if consumed in moderation, it may help improve oral health because it may target bacteria in plaque that can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Is.

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