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STFX Researchers Partner With Beekeeper To Develop Healing Bee Glue

St. Francis Xavier University students and professors have joined forces with a rural Nova Scotia bee producer to create a product that will heal some illnesses.

StFX professor and microbiologist Dr. Lori Graham was able to scientifically prove that Propolis ‘bee glue,’ made by bees from tree sap, indeed has antibacterial activity against a range of organisms, many of which are associated with food-borne illnesses.

Propolis is sticky, resinous material used to waterproof and insulate their hives, says beekeeper Margaret Cornect from Cornect Family Farms in Denver, Guysborough County. In many parts of the world, in particular in Europe, it is used as a healing salve and ointment because of its health care properties, adds Ms. Cornect.

Dr. David Pink, senior research professor in StFX’s Physics Department, and his colleague senior research associate Dr. Erzsebet Papp-Szabo will begin developing some products using ‘bee glue.’ Both professors have experience in developing new products. Dr. Papp-Szabo developed Paw-Shield, a product which protects and heals dogs’ paws from winter cold and salt.

The rural Nova Scotia business owner likes this mix of scientific competence and personal confidence. She realizes the advantages of having top scientists work with her. “These research collaborations are a great way for me to build my business,” says Ms. Cornect. “It’s great to see a university reaching out to work with small businesses like mine, helping to develop or dream up new products, and involve students in real-world applied science.”

Ms. Cornect is aiming to have her Propolis health products available in 2015.