Comparative study of the antibacterial activity of propolis from different geographical and climatic zones
Propolis is a natural substance produced by honeybees upon collection and transformation of resins and exudates from plants. Comparative studies on propolis collected from a wide range of countries are crucial for linking its provenance to antibacterial activity and thus ensuring that the beneficial properties of propolis are used more efficiently by the general public. This study reports the in vitro screening of ethanol extracts of propolis (n = 40), collected from a wide range of countries within the tropical, subtropical and temperate zones, and on the comparison of their activity against a range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria using a broth microdilution assay. The results obtained revealed that propolis extracts were mostly active against Gram-positive bacteria. The samples were subjected to principal component analysis (PCA) in order to model their activity against Gram-positive microorganisms. Three distinct clusters were distinguished in the PCA mapping based on MIC values, categorizing samples with strong (MIC range 3.9–31.25 mg/L), moderate (MIC range 31.25–≥500 mg/L) and weak antibacterial activity or inactivity (MIC ≥ 500 mg/L only). It is hypothesized that for samples of tropical provenance differences in the activity profiles may depend on the climatic characteristics of the collection sites. High antibacterial activity was observed for samples from locations characterized by a wet-tropical rainforest-type climate.