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HONEY MANUKA - Has an antibacterial activity, due primarily to hydrogen peroxide formed in a "slow-release" manner by the enzyme glucose oxidase present. It contains an additional antibacterial component found only in honey produced from Leptospermum plants: what has been called the "Unique Manuka Factor" (UMF). UMF is not affected by the catalase enzyme present in body tissue and serum. This enzyme will break down, to some degree, the hydrogen peroxide which is the major antibacterial factor found in other types of honey.
If a honey without UMF were used to treat an infection, the potency of the honey's antibacterial activity would most likely be reduced because of the action of catalase. The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honey is destroyed when honey is exposed to heat and light. But UMF is stable, so there is no concern about Manuka Honey losing its activity in storage.
The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honey becomes active only when honey is diluted. But UMF is active in full strength honey, which will provide a more potent antibacterial action diffusing into the depth of infected tissues. The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honey needs oxygen to be available for the reaction, so it may not work under wound dressings or in wound cavities. Honey with UMF is active in all situations.
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