Increasing the value of Australian honey as a health food

Summary

We have preliminary findings showing that some Australian eucalypt honeys have a positive impact on human gut health. Gut microbes are now recognised as playing a crucial role in health and disease. It is estimated that half of all Australians will complain of a digestive issue in the next 12 months. An ‘unhealthy’ gut (disrupted balance of gut microbes) has been linked to obesity, allergies, asthma, heart conditions, and mental health issues. Therefore, manipulating the balance of our microbes by consuming prebiotic foods to promote a ‘healthy’ gut is gaining significant interest in health, scientific and medical spheres. We have already shown that Australian eucalypt honeys have significant promise as a prebiotic, which led to the development and commercialisation of a worldfirst prebiotic honey product. However, the honey industry has not come close to exploiting all of the potential here. This project will provide high quality scientific evidence for the health benefits of Australian honeys natural, safe and affordable products to promote or restore a healthy gut. This will be done using clinical samples from patients with gutrelated complaints for in vitro investigations, followed by a pilot clinical study. Honeys with scientifically proven benefits attract higher prices, as evidenced by NZ medicinal manuka honey. This has had flowon price benefits for all NZ honeys, which are regarded as premium, healthy and high quality products internationally. Proving the benefits of Australian eucalyptderived honeys would further increase their profile and value, and generate a unique marketing opportunity for Australian honeys.

Program

Honey Bee

Research Organisation

University of Technology, Sydney

Objective Summary

The overall aim of this work is to provide a rigorous evidence base for the value of Australian honey as a prebiotic food that can promote digestive health. The outcomes will be to increase the value, use and acceptance of our honey as a health product. The specific R&D objectives are: 1. To investigate the prebiotic effects of Australian honeys from dominant floral sources and their potential for treating gutrelated diseases in a laboratory gut model. We will identify the diseases most responsive to honey treatments, and honeys with the highest prebiotic activity based on composition and function of the microbes in the system. This will extend the current knowledge of the spectrum of prebiotic activity of honey, help to increase the value of our nonpremium honeys, and may promote the use of honey as a treatment for conditions related to having a compromised balance of gut microbes. 2. To perform a pilot human clinical study investigating the effect of daily honey consumption on the composition of gut microbes in patients suffering with gutrelated conditions. This will determine whether the laboratory results are translatable, and will increase the acceptance of honey as an effective prebiotic. There may also be commercialisation potential for a new prebiotic honey product as a treatment for gutrelated diseases, complementing the prophylactic product (for healthy people) currently on the market. The overall reputation, profile and price of Australian honey as a natural product for health care and medicine will also be enhanced.

Project Code

PRJ-010879

Project Stage

Current

Project Start Date

Monday, July 2, 2018

Project Completion Date

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

HBE-Increase productivity and profitability of beekeepers

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