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Earnings by a leading company in New Zealand’s $100 million Manuka honey export industry have the potential to increase ten-fold through use of patented technology outlined at a conference in Auckland today.

Speakers from natural health science company Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd said the development had the potential to be “a 10-times multiplier” in what could be earned from each kilogram of Manuka honey.

A special session of the country’s annual NZBIO biotechnology showcase, heard from several speakers about Manuka honey, billed as “New Zealand’s foremost bioactive” product.

Manuka Health chief executive Kerry Paul told the conference his company’s next generation of Manuka honey products would use patented technology to deliver the active ingredient in forms more akin to pharmaceutical products than jars of honey.

Branded CycloPower, the products will use cyclodextrins, a circular compound made up of oligosaccharide molecules, which has the ability to enhance solubility, stabilise, control release rate, increase bio-availability and absorption.

Mr Paul said the Manuka Health CycloPower range would include products such as throat lozenges. Manuka honey’s active ingredient, the naturally-occuring compound Methylglyoxal, would be encapsulated within cyclodextrins as a powder.

The process eliminated the disadvantages of delivering the active ingredient in honey — such as acidity, taste and odour — and opened the way to a wide range of applications such as eye drops, nasal sprays, topical creams and oral capsules.

“CycloPower moves us a long way from a pot of honey,” he said, “improving bioactivity, easy of use and convenience, and with a presentation consistent with medical applications.”

“From a commercial perspective it increases the multiples earned per kilogram of honey by around 10 times.

“It opens up new frontiers, mid-way between natural health and pharmaceutical products.”

Paul said Manuka Health was collaborating with international cyclodextrin expert Professor Keiji Terao, of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, who will also address the NZBIO conference.

Prof Terao is a director of the International Cyclodextrin Society and vice-president of the Japan Cyclodextrin Industrial Society.

Manuka Health research and development manager Dr Lynne Chepulis told the conference that antibacterial studies being carried out by Auckland University using reference strains of common bacteria had found significant differences in growth. Cyclopower showed significantly higher rates of bacterial inhibition than the raw Manuka honey.

Further studies are planned using different bacteria, including those responsible for sore throats, stomach ulcers, pneumonia and respiratory diseases.

Dr Chepulis said CycloPower-type compounds were already in use in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. They were recognised as safe by the United States Federal Drug Administration.

“Common uses are beauty creams with encapsulated Vitamin C, and in the angina supplement coenzyme Q10.”

Oral delivery of Manuka honey’s active ingredient Methyglyoxal opened up many possibilities to make better use of its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

“It is well-recognised that Manuka honey high in Methylglyoxyl is beneficial for health and wellness. The problem is in standardising the product and providing effective delivery methods.”

“CycloPower’s encapsulation within cyclodextrin compounds achieves that. For example, lozenges with small amounts of methylglyoxal could replace large doses of honey necessary to counter dilution in the gut.

“The formation of a Manuka CycloPower complex also allows the active ingredients in Manuka Honey to be delivered to the lower gut. The complex acts to stabilise the honey compounds and should provide a slower rate of Methylglyoxal release; thereby allowing it to work for longer.

“By standardising delivery we have more options,” Dr Chepulis said. –Source: Manuka Health website


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