Issue Date: September 1, 2008
Keeping Tabs On Honey
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy can be used to distinguish between different types of honey, as well as identify the natural sweetener's region of origin, according to Roberto Consonni and Laura R. Cagliani of Italy's National Research Council (J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2008, 56, 6873). Developing new techniques to analyze honey and other products is key to European Union efforts to control the quality and authenticity of foods and beverages. Using 1H NMR and statistical methods to analyze the spectra, the researchers found that they could differentiate between acacia and polyfloral types of honey by the higher fructose and sucrose content of acacia honey. They also found that Argentinean honeys contain more of the aromatic amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine compared with Italian or Hungarian samples. Using 13C NMR, Consonni and Cagliani found that ratios of fructose and glucose tautomeric isoforms can be used to identify the geographic origin of honey samples. The NMR results combined with simple sample preparation could make the spectroscopic technique a valuable alternative to time-consuming methods such as pollen analysis for studying honey, the authors note.
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