TA, UMF, NPA, MGO Explained

When Shopping for Bio-Active Honeys, you will see a wide variety of quality assurance marks used to express the amount of antimicrobial activity or bacteria killing "strength" of the honey you are buying. These are typically abbreviations followed by a number. The higher the number, the higher the honeys antimicrobial activity and health benefits. However not all measures are created equal. This page provides information about what these abbreviations mean and a handy comparison chart so that you can make an informed decision. 

Bio-Active honey Comparison Chart. (Based on TA levels)

The minimum TA reading for a sample is 8. For this reason TA 20 is not double the strength of TA10. It is actually 6x stronger.

We have the same kind of dilemma when changing Fahrenheit to Celsius because 0°C equals 32°F.

Our Bio-Active Marri has been independently laboratory tested to be TA 44, making it 3x stronger than NPA 20 medical grade honey used in hospitals. 20-8=12    44-8=36   12:36 ≈ 1:3

Bio- Active honeys fall into two different categories: peroxide and non peroxide antimicrobial activity. Although different in their chemical composition, both types of honey result in comparable health benefits and immune support. Manuka is a non peroxide honey, (active component methylglyoxal or MGO) while our Bio-Active Marri is a peroxide honey (active component enzymatic hydrogen peroxide)

Abbreviations used to describe antimicrobial activity in honey

TA (Total Activity).

The test currently used by laboratories  around the world to show the total Antimicrobial levels in honey; expressed as %phenol. It includes both peroxide and non peroxide activity. For this reason both Bio-Active Marri (peroxide) and Manuka (Non-peroxide) can be assigned a TA level. Our comparison chart (Above) is based on this testing method. Our TA levels are independently tested by ChemCentre WA and the Australian Government National Measurement Institute to insure Authenticity.


NPA (Non Peroxide Activity)

This measure describes the levels of non peroxide antimicrobial activity in honey. It uses the same unit of measurement as a Total Activity test. For example a non peroxide Manuka honey marked NPA 25 would correlate with a TA (Total Activity) result of TA 25. The NPA scale is commonly used to grade Manuka honey and is a often an alternative to the UMF trademark.

MGO (methylglyoxal)

Is used to express the concentration of Methylglyoxal or MGO- the active component that gives Manuka honey its non peroxide antimicrobial properties. MGO is also one of the main compounds which is measured to ascertain a UMF grade and is the only compound measured by the UMF trademark which is proven to directly produce an Antimicrobial response.


UMF (Unique Manuka Factor)

A trade mark of the Unique Manuka Factor honey Association which awards a UMF level based on minimum levels of three separate compounds found in  Manuka honey. These are MGO,  Leptosperin and DHA (the chemical compound from which MGO originates.) The UMF trademark is only licensed to be used by New Zealand Manuka honey producers that are a part of the UMFHA and therefore a UMF value cannot be Assigned to our Bio-Active TA 44 Marri honey. 

(See above) 

NPA  testing scales do not go high enough to be directly compared to our super grade TA 44 Bio-Active Marri, however, if they did, NPA 44 would have approximately the equivalent antimicrobial activity.