Bees could hold key to superbug fight15th June 2011
A new study from researchers in Wales has found that bees could play a key role in fighting drug-resistant superbugs.
Researchers at Cardiff University's Welsh School of Pharmacy are starting to pinpoint the importance of the role of drugs made from flowers, from which nectar is taken by bees.
They have asked beekeepers to provide samples of their honey for research so that the team can look for new drugs.
The acid in honey and its low water content make it an antiseptic. It has been used as a medicine since around 4000BC in Ayurvedic treatment of burns and infections.
Professor Les Baillie of the Welsh School of Pharmacy said they wanted as many amateur and private beekeepers as they could find to send in samples.
"A lot of drug development involves expensive laboratory screening of a huge variety of plant products, often without success," said Professor Baillie.
"We're hoping to cut out the middle man and let the bees do a lot of the hard work, guiding to us those plants which work."
"We're hoping the public can provide us with as much home-made honey as possible - they could supply the vital breakthrough in fighting these bacteria," he added.
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