Israeli students have developed a new technology to produce bee-free honey by using genetically modified bacteria, the Israel Institute of Technology reported on Thursday.
The honey possesses unique properties that make it highly attractive in fields such as the medicine, cosmetics, and the food industry. However, the expansion of honey industry harms the bees and their environment and reduces bee populations worldwide.
The bee-fee honey, which may help dealing with such global harm, is produced by bacillus subtilis bacteria, which “learns” to produce honey by reprogramming in the laboratory, the Haifa-based institute reported.
Honeybees, which produce honey to make the flower’s nectar more digestible and well-preserved, use various enzymes secreted into their honey stomachs.
In the new method, the engineered bacteria are separated from the final product using membrane-based capsules.
The students also designed a synthetic circuit that regulates the transcription of the essential enzymes, to control the final composition of the bee-free honey, as to determine its taste, and tailor it to desired applications.
“Our bee-free honey can open a whole new field of honey manufacturing without harming any bees and can be used both in food and medicine applications,” the students concluded.