honey authenticity (9)


Honey is regarded as one of the foods most susceptible to adulteration or mislabelling. Greek researchers have used the Scopus database to determine which issues and methods of authenticity have had most published papers. The result indicated that the determination of botanical origin  was the most studied authenticity issue, and chromatographic methods were the most frequently used for its assessment. This comprehensive review examines other methodologies to assess honey botanical and geographical origin using separation techniques, DNA methods, spectroscopic, elemental and isotopic techniques. Methods for sugar adulteration of honey are not covered.

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This study compared the capabilities of three spectroscopic techniques as fast screening platforms for honey authentication purposes. Multifloral honeys were collected in the three main honey-producing regions of Argentina over four harvesting seasons to give a total of 502 samples. Spectra were run on each of the samples with FT-MIR ( Fourier transform mid-infrared), NIR (near infrared) and FT-Raman  (Fourier transform Raman)  spectroscopy. The spectroscopic platforms were compared on the basis of the classification performance achieved under a supervised chemometric approach. Very good classification scores to distinguish the three Argentian regions were achieved by all the spectroscopies, and a nearly perfect classification was provided by FT-MIR. The results obtained in the present work suggested that FT-MIR had the best potential for fingerprinting-based honey authentication, and demonstrated that sufficient accuracy levels to be commercially useful can be reached.

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In some countries, honey from native, non-domesticated species, such as Asian Apis dorsata and Apis cerana commands a much higher price than honey from the colonies of the domesticated honeybee Apis mellifera, and therefore is more vulnerable to fraud. Slovenian researchers have developed DNA  markers from a single copy ANT (adenine nucleotide translocase) gene using exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC) primers and a double restriction protocol to obtain sequence information, which can identify the three bee species in honey. The method was developed using small extracts from 25 honeybee tissue samples and 21 honeybee products, and can be used for other bee products such as royal jelly.

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4469437532?profile=RESIZE_400xRaman spectroscopy represents an increasingingly useful technique for food authentication being a fast, reliable non-targeted method, requiring a minimum sample preparation step. However, in the case of honey, there are limitations to its application caused by sugar crystallisation effects and fluorescence in dark coloured honeys. Romanian researchers have developed a simple sample preparation of honey by a 1:1 w/v dilution in distilled water, which overcomes the limitations and gives reliable and reproductible spectra. 

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This paper reviews the latest research using botanical origin, chemical composition and physical properties to characterise and authenticate honey. Melissopanology (pollen identification), sensorial and physicochemical properties combined with statistical analysis or chemometrics are being used to study the characteristics of honey samples and classify them according to different botanical and geographical origins. 

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Honey is the third most adulterated food globally. This study by Australian researchers examined 100 honey samples from Australia (mainland and Tasmania) along with 18 other countries covering Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. Carbon isotopic analyses of honey and protein showed that 27% of commercial honey samples tested were of questionable authenticity. The remaining 69 authentic samples were subject to trace element analysis for geographic determination, and were analysed chemometrically. The trace elements Sr, P, Mn and K were the most useful ones to differentiate honey according to its geographic origin. The findings show the common and prevalent issues of honey authenticity and the mislabelling of its geographic origin can be identified using a combination of stable carbon isotopes and trace element concentrations.

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The aim of this study is to evaluate the influence of some adulteration agents (fructose and hydrolysed inulin syrup) on physico-chemical parameters (pH, electrical conductivity, water activity and CIEL*a*b* parameters) and Raman spectra of some honey types (acacia, tilia and polyfloral) from the North East part of Romania.  Unlike physico-chemical analyses and color analysis, which determine only the degree of falsification of honey, Raman analysis enables identification of falsification agent based on specific vibrational bands recorded.

 Read the full paper at: Authenticity of Romanian Honey

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German researchers have developed a simple non-targeted approach to authenticate the plant species origin of monofloral honey using HS-GC-IMS (headspace gas chromatography ion mobility spectrometer) combined with optimised chemometric techniques as a complementary tool to proton NMR profiling. Whereas NMR profiling still requires comparatively precise sample preparation, pH adjustment in particular, HS-GC-IMS fingerprinting may be considered an alternative approach for a truly fully automated, cost-efficient, and in particular highly sensitive method. 

The HS-GC-IMS-based PCA–LDA model was composed of two linear functions of  discrimination        and 10 selected PCs that discriminated rapeseed, acacia, and honeydew honeys with a predictive accuracy of 98.6%.

Read the abstract at: Headspace authentication of honey

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