Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 8, pp 3265–3276 | Cite as

Melittin: from honeybees to superbugs

  • Hamed Memariani
  • Mojtaba MemarianiEmail author
  • Mohammad Shahidi-Dadras
  • Soheila Nasiri
  • Maziar Mohammad Akhavan
  • Hamideh MoravvejEmail author


The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, dubbed superbugs, together with relative stagnation in developing efficient antibiotics has led to enormous health and economic problems, necessitating the need for discovering and developing novel antimicrobial agents. In this respect, animal venoms represent a rich repertoire of pharmacologically active components. As a major component in the venom of European honeybee Apis mellifera, melittin has a great potential in medical applications. In this mini-review, we summarize a multitude of studies on anti-bacterial effects of melittin against planktonic and biofilm-embedded bacteria. Several investigations regarding synergistic effects between melittin and antibiotics were also described. On the whole, the properties of melittin can open up new horizons in a range of biomedical areas, from agriculture to veterinary and clinical microbiology.


Venom Bee Melittin Anti-bacterial activity Biofilm Antibiotic 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Skin Research CenterShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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