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Open Access Research article

Physicochemical and antioxidant properties of Malaysian honeys produced by Apis cerana, Apis dorsata and Apis mellifera

Mohammed Moniruzzaman1, Md Ibrahim Khalil1, Siti Amrah Sulaiman1 and Siew Hua Gan2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

2 Human Genome Centre, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:43  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-43

Published: 23 February 2013

Abstract

Background

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the physicochemical and antioxidant properties of Malaysian monofloral honey samples—acacia, pineapple and borneo honey—and compare them with tualang honey. Acacia and pineapple honey are produced by Apis mellifera bees while borneo and tualang honey are produced by Apis cerana and Apis dorsata bees, respectively.

Methods

The physical parameters of honey, such as pH, moisture content, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), color intensity, total sugar and apparent sucrose content, were measured. Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) was measured using high performance liquid chromatography, and a number of biochemical and antioxidant tests were performed to determine the antioxidant properties of the honey samples.

Results

Acacia honey was the most acidic (pH 3.53), whereas pineapple honey had the lowest moisture content (14.86%), indicating that both types of honey can resist microbial spoilage more effectively when compared to tualang honey (pH 3.80 and 17.53% moisture content). Acacia honey contained the highest EC (0.76 mS/cm), whereas borneo honey had the highest (377 ppm) TDS. The mean HMF content in Malaysian honey was 35.98 mg/kg. Tualang honey, which is amber color, had the highest color intensity (544.33 mAU). Acacia honey is the sweetest, and contained the highest concentration of total sugar, reducing sugar and apparent sucrose. Tualang honey had the highest concentration of phenolic compounds (352.73 ± 0.81 mg galic acid/kg), flavonoids (65.65 ± 0.74 mg catechin/kg), DPPH (59.89%), FRAP values (576.91 ± 0.64 μM Fe (II)/100 g) and protein content (4.83 ± 0.02 g/kg) as well as the lowest AEAC values (244.10 ± 5.24 mg/kg), indicating its strong antioxidant properties. Proline, an important amino acid that is present in honey was also measured in the present study and it was found at the highest concentration in pineapple honey. Several strong correlations were found among the biochemical and antioxidant parameters of all the Malaysian honeys.

Conclusion

Although Malaysian honeys are of good quality, tualang honey contains the strongest antioxidant properties by far.

Keywords:
Acacia honey; Pineapple honey; Tualang honey; Antioxidants; Apis cerana; Apis dorsata; Apis mellifera