If you have ever dealt with manuka honey, you could probably notice that there are different kinds of it. Every jar has a tag with numbers.
They are ratings that show the strength of the product. In this article, we’ll find out the meaning of one of them.
What MGO is
Manuka honey is special due to its therapeutic and antibacterial properties. One of the reasons for such qualities is the presence of methylglyoxal (this is where the abbreviation comes from) in its content. It’s a chemical compound that causes an antiseptic effect.
The concentration of MGO in this kind of honey is 100-fold higher than in others. But it’s still not the same everywhere. The difference mainly comes from the plants that produce nectar. If bees gathered it only from manuka trees, the mark will be higher. In case there were used other species, honey will be not so strong.
To find out how potent manuka honey is, there are taken measurements and the results are marked on a tag. The ratings are based on the concentration of methylglyoxal in manuka honey. The higher the level, the bigger the number. Usually, they range from 150+ to 1700+.
Properties of MGO
Every kind of honey is supposed to have antibacterial properties thanks to hydrogen peroxide it contains. But contacting with a wound it breaks down to oxygen and water. It happens because of enzyme catalase that is present in blood, as well as serum, saliva and some tissues. This way, there is no antiseptic potency left in the substance.
Manuka honey is special since it still has antibacterial properties even after hydrogen peroxide disappears. Such a quality is called non-peroxide activity. It is possible due to MGO. This compound is a result of dihydroxyacetone conversion, a high concentration of which is contained in manuka flowers’ nectar.
A lot of research studies have proved that honey with such components can kill pathogenic bacteria. It is effective in dealing with a great variety of microorganisms and even with multi-resistant strains. One of the examples is Campylobacter that causes digestive disorders.
Interestingly, MGO and hydrogen peroxide are not the only substances with antimicrobial qualities. The healing properties also come from flavonoids and acids that are included in manuka honey. And this is not the only product that contains methylglyoxal. It was also found in bread, wine, soya and beer.
How MGO ratings are generated
When this kind of honey is produced, the concentration of methylglyoxal in it is quite low. It ranges from 139 to 491 mg/kg. So, how does the product become so potent? It happens during its storing. When the temperature is about 37 °C, the level of the compound activity increases. It is supposed that antibacterial properties appear with MGO concentration above 150 mg/kg.
What influences this parameter? It’s the content of dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in nectar, which is a base for methylglyoxal creation. Another factor is the extent of bloom. One more important thing is the behavior of bees: whether they gather nectar only from manuka flowers or mix it with others. It matters because plants have different concentrations of the active agent. As a result, manuka honey may vary in strength.
MGO ratings that you see on tags mean how much methylglyoxal is present in 1 kg of the product. For example, if there is a mark 550+, there are 550 mg of it in 1 kg of honey. How is it found? The level is defined with the help of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). During this process, complex mixtures are separated into elementary compounds. For this purpose, there are used solid adsorbent materials and pressure.
What strength of manuka honey is the best
There is no exact answer to this question. It depends on your purpose of consuming this product. If you’re going to do it just for health maintenance and daily use, honey with low MGO marks will be enough. There are even various desserts and sweets from it to taste with a cup of tea or supplement breakfast. For example, straws or mixtures with superfoods. Notice that products with a higher activity may be even harmful to health if you eat them every day.
Honey that has more antiseptic properties is used for medical purposes. It helps with wound treatment, digestive problems, cough, sore throat and acne. These disorders are caused mainly by pathogenic microorganisms, that’s why antibacterial properties of the product allow it to deal with them. So, in this case, it’s better to choose higher MGO marks.
Why manuka honey from us
We believe that honey is not only a tasty sweet but is rich in elements that help to maintain and improve health. That’s why we care about the quality and properties of the products we provide. Having a bee farm in a remote Australian forest and modern production facilities helps us to produce 100% natural raw honey. It saves its qualities staying both tasty and nutritious. Experience that yourself ordering it online or buying locally!