Laboratory analysis of honey.

Laboratory analysis of honey is the only way one can ensure the purity of honey.

In my previous post, I have explained why all the conventional or home tests for checking the purity of honey are misleading (Because they analyse only the physical nature of honey). 

The Adulterants or synthetic honey manufacturers are getting updated day by day. They are bypassing the routine laboratory testing parameters designed by regulatory authorities.

Though new advanced laboratory tests have come up, which can accurately identify the adulteration, the irony is that those tests are not yet in the parameters of regulatory authorities.

This significant flaw is giving a free ride for honey adulteration in the market. Public awareness may change the scenario. 

I have divided the laboratory analysis of honey in two sections.

  1.  Routine tests
  2.  Advanced tests

Routine tests:

  • Fiehe’s Test: A negative result indicates the absence of adulteration.
  • Aniline chloride tests: A negative result indicates the absence of adulterations.
  • Specific gravity: To identify the thickness of honey
  • Moisture content: To identify the moisture content or thickness of honey.
  •  Total reducing sugar: Value less than 65% indicates adulteration.
  •  Presence of sucrose: Value less than 5% indicates adulteration
  • Fructose-glucose ratio: Normal range is .95-1.2 – any deviation indicates adulteration.
  • Total ash: More than 0.5% indicates the presence of impurities.
  • Total ash: More than 0.5% indicates the presence of impurities.
  • Hydroxymethylfurfural content: Max limit is 80mm/kg
  • Bee pollen count: Should be at least 50,000 per gm
  • Acidity (as formic acid): 0.2% and free acidity less than 50milliequelant per kg

Advanced tests:

  • Carbon isotope test (For C4 sugars): More than 7% indicates adulteration with sugar, either fed to honey bees or added externally.
  •  Proline quantity: less than 200mg/kg indicates adulteration in honey
  • Electrical conductivity: Value more than 0.8 millisiemens /s indicates adulteration in honey.
  • Diastase activity: should be at least 80 scade unit
  • Foreign oligosaccharides: The presence of foreign oligosaccharides indicates the presence of rice syrup.
  •  Special marker for rice syrup (SMR): Liquid chromatography test to identify rice syrup
  • Trace marker for rice syrup (TMR): Liquid chromatography test to identify rice syrup
  • Nuclear Magnetic resonance test (NMR): Most advanced test to identify all types of adulterants.

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