01 Feb 2018 Hannah Behrens
Hydroxyapatite (HA), a mineral naturally found in bone, is used therapeutically to replace bone and to coat prosthetics, but can become infected once in the body. Eliana Cristina da Silva Rigo and her research group have investigated antibacterial compounds from propolis, a bee product used in traditional medicine, transferred onto HA. Rigo and her team extracted antibacterial compounds from red and green Brazilian propolis, applied it to HA, and evaluated the antibacterial activity (Biomed. Mater. 13 025010).
Propolis is a glue that bees produce to fix their hives, seal alternative hive entrances and ward off microbes such as fungi and bacteria, and also mites. It has been used in traditional medicine for a long time and has only recently been analysed scientifically. Of its various antimicrobial activities, the antibacterial activities are understood best. The team of researchers from the Universidade de São Paulo found that antimicrobial peptides extracted from propolis can be applied to HA used in implants.
Can propolis prevent infections?
HA is a bioceramic material that is mainly used in the clinic to fill bone defects. New knees, hips, teeth and the like are necessary to maintain quality-of-life in old age, as well as after diseases and injuries, but they bear a risk of infection. Antibiotics are given to avoid infections, however many bacteria, especially the prevalent Staphylocci and Escherichia coli, have recently acquired multidrug resistances. HA loaded with antimicrobials such as those extracted from propolis might provide a way of preventing these infections.
* THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.