Antimicrobial activity and formulation of propolis extracts

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Sch of Biosciences


Bees are sociable insects that leave and work in the hive. In order to be protected from outside enemies such as bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms they seal the hive with propolis that the bees have to produce themselves. Propolis has all the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties required in addition to its resinous character to be used as a sealing material. In addition, propolis serves as an antioxidant agent due to its reducing character properties that are utilised by the bee hive. At first this project will investigate the composition of propolis in order to understand its anti-microorganism character. At a second stage methods will be developed in order to extract the active ingredients paying particular attention in the retention of their biological activity. At a final stage, complex formulation designs and formulation routes for the fabrication of different types of particles will be investigated, in order to produce formulations which are tailored to deliver propolis and synergistic active agents with optimised activity in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1915080 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 02/10/2017 30/09/2021 Nelli Chourmouziadi Laleni
Description Propolis is a resinous bee product that honeybees prepare by collecting and mixing and chemical and biochemical materials found in trees and buds to protect aseptically the hive. Propolis is manufactured so it has antibacterial as well as antioxidant character. The aim of the project is to formulate propolis in such a way as to retain those properties. The antibacterial activity researched so far has been with propolis dissolved in organic solvents such as ethanol or DMSO, both of them being toxic to microorganisms. In the market propolis commonly exists as an ethanol tincture or dissolved at some extend in glycerine/ polypropelene glycol. A new formulation has been developed where propolis is dispersed in water while retaining its antibacterial activity by both propolis particles and by biochemical agents that via sonication have passed from the dispersed to the aqueous phase
Exploitation Route A novel formulation was achieved which can have applications to food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals