The mysteries of the X factor behind Manuka honey are being uncovered by University of Waikato researchers.

A team from the School of Science has just completed a groundbreaking study of Manuka nectar physiology, looking at the how the genetics of the plant, age of the flower, and the environment influence nectar production.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Mike Clearwater says at the moment predicting the amount and quality of Manuka honey produced from an area can be a bit hit and miss, so they are trying to create a better model.

Despite a large industry growing around the unique properties of Manuka honey, little is known about how the Manuka flower itself makes nectar, or why it contains the active ingredient, DHA.

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