Research project on medicinal Australian Leptospermum honey
Our research team is running a project looking for more sources of medicinal Australian Leptospermum honey (aka jelly bush, or Australian manuka). We are asking beekeepers with access to Leptospermum honeys from anywhere in the country to provide samples to include in this research project until 2017 (exact date will be announced closer to the time). We will test honeys for antimicrobial activity and investigate the relationship between the activity and the plant source. We are keeping all results confidential, but we are providing beekeepers with the results from their honeys.
Why are we doing this research project?
Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey from New Zealand is world famous, and it is sold at a much higher price than other honeys. However, although Australia is home to the largest diversity of Leptospermum plants in the world (we have more than 80 species compared to New Zealand which has only L. scoparium), most of our honeys do not enjoy the high prices of their New Zealand equivalents.
We already know that a handful of Australian Leptospermum honeys have similar levels of antibacterial activity to New Zealand manuka, but most of the other 80+ Australian varieties have not been tested. We want to find more sources of active honey and understand more about the medicinal properties of these Australian honeys. We are doing this because we want to help the Australian beekeeping industry by increasing the amount and value of medicinal Australian honey.
The research team
The University of Technology Sydney is leading the project and the research team includes Professor Liz Harry, Dr Shona Blair and Dr Nural Cokcetin (ithree institute, University of Technology Sydney), as well as Dr Peter Brooks and Simon Williams (University of Sunshine Coast) and Professor Dee Carter (University of Sydney).
(L to R: Prof Liz Harry, Dr Shona Blair, Dr Nural Cokcetin, Dr Peter Brooks, Simon Williams, Prof Dee Carter)
The team at the 2016 Queensland Beekeepers Association conference in Townsville.
The project is being funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), with some support from Capilano and Comvita, and will run until 2019.