Biotransformation Works to Lessen the Allergens Contained in Propolis


The honeybees produce bee glue or propolis, which is a resin-like substance. Most of the time it is dark brown in color and is sticky above 20 degrees C. Today, the medicinal properties of propolis are known making it quite popular, along with being placed in cosmetic products, beverages and food.

Some negative side effects can be suffered by beekeepers such as contact dermatitis caused from allergic reaction or consumers can also have allergies to it. This research discovered that under the right conditions the caffeate esters can be removed from raw propolis, these are the primary cause for allergies. The suggested method is comprised of a re-suspension of propolis using a solvent that it food grade to perform biotransformation set upon the cinnamoyl esterase action for Lactobacillus helveticus. This resulted in the carreate esters controlled by the Lactobacillus helvticus being reduced without affecting the level of flavonoids, the primary bioactive molecules for the propolis.

In addition, no antimicrobial properties were lost in the biotransformation. In the end, it was proved that Lactobacillus helveticus is strain specific when it hydrolyzes the caffeate esters contained in the propolis. This study is the first to show that the caffeate esters that can cause allergic reactions to propolis can be removed through using the bacterial biotransformation method.