While humans may only think of honey as the golden, sticky deliciousness to put in tea or on a biscuit, it's actually an incredibly complex substance with numerous ways of protecting itself from spoilage by bacteria and fungi.
Bees create honey by collecting nectar from the flowers they visit throughout the day. The nectar is collected in a special stomach separate from the one used to take in nectar to eat. When they return to the hive, they regurgitate the partially digested nectar into honeycomb. The mixture of enzymes and stomach acid creates a high-sugar, low-water product that is then sealed off with wax for storage.
In a recent video from SciShow, host Hank Green teaches us how these enzymes and other components are able to completely obliterate almost all types of bacteria and fungi. Not only does this keep the honey fresh indefinitely, but it can also transfer some of those antimicrobial benefits to humans as a form of medicine.
Learn more about honey's why you should thank a honeybee next time you see one:
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