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Fill in the gaps on the Welsh healing honey map

05 March 2012

The call has gone out for North and Mid-Wales bee-keepers to help in the search for healing honey.

Cardiff University and the National Botanic Garden of Wales launched the hunt last summer for honeys which can counter-act bacteria.

Honey has been known to have anti-bacterial properties since ancient times. The Welsh team are hoping their project can lead them to the plants which have those properties, allowing them to create new treatments.

There has been an enthusiastic response from bee-keepers, particularly in South Wales, and the research team would like to see more honey coming in from further north.

Since last summer’s appeal, scientists at the University’s Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, have been analysing honey sent in from across the UK. They are checking for honey with the potential to counter hospital acquired infections MRSA and Clostridium Difficile. Then the National Botanic Garden profiles the DNA of the most powerful honeys, checking for the plants which contributed.

The team has built a "honey map" of Wales, pinpointing where the jars are coming from. Now they want to fill in the gaps.

Professor Les Baillie of Cardiff University said: "We have had a very enthusiastic response to our honey appeal, with jars coming in from as far afield as the Isle of Wight. We’ve had some 200 samples sent in, 60 of them from Wales, and we have some very promising candidates for further research. We now want to build up our picture of what’s happening in Wales – and for that we need more honey from the middle and the north of country."

Anyone wanting to contribute their honey for research purposes should send a 200 gram pot with their address, postcode and details of the plants their bees feed on, to:

Jenny Hawkins, Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University, Redwood Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3NB.

Notes to editors

The attached map shows locations which have submitted honey pots for the study to date. Some locations have sent more than one pot.

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.
Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Les Baillie
Welsh School of Pharmacy,
Cardiff University
Tel: 029 208 75535

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University.
029 2087 5596