22nd September 2020 By Staff Reporter | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
A new study into mānuka leaves could help maximise the production of high-grade honey.
Mānuka honey is valued for its high-grade antibacterial properties, but grades varied across the market.
University of Waikato researchers found a group of micro-organisms on the surface of mānuka leaves could explain the wide variation.
They found the microbiome – a complex community of bacteria – was surprisingly specific and consistent for mānuka leaves, even across distant geographical locations.
According to the researchers, this suggested the bacteria might play important roles in how mānuka responded to stress and different environmental conditions.
Further research might help develop strategies to maximise the production of prized high-grade mānuka honey.
This research would involve identifying the specific micro-organisms on the mānuka leaf surface that influenced the production of antibacterial compounds.
University of Waikato PhD student Anya Noble was lead author on the study.
Uncovering the effect of these microorganisms on mānuka would be the focus of investigation in her PhD.
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