Journal of Apicultural Science

Gas chromatograph (GC) study of sugar composition in honeys and winter stores processed by bees from sucrose syrups

Journal of Apicultural Science. Volume 50, Issue 2, Pages 147-155, ISSN (Print) 1643-4439
The objective of the study was to compare sugar composition of honey with that of several syrups (bee feeds) before and after they were processed by bees and deposited in honeycombs as winter stores. Another objective was to find an answer to the question of to what extent gas chromatography (GC) as a method to assay individual carbohydrate contents is able to identify "sugar honey" and other honey surrogates made by enzymatically hydrolyzing sucrose to monosaccharides. The study material consisted of ready-to-use inverts from two manufacturers (syrup A and B) and of 70% sucrose solution (sugar syrup) which is conventionally fed to bees in the autumn as a winter feed. The contents of individual sugars in winter stores processed from those feeds were compared to those in spring honey samples collected from the same colonies.
The use of capillary gas chromatography to assay carbohydrate contents of honey and of inverts (following their processing by bees) allowed some important differences to be found among the products under comparison. The differences were those for erlose and sucrose contents and for maltose to isomaltose content ratio (M/IM). It was also observed that the ratio of sucrose to maltose content can also be a distinguisher to be used in the identification of inverts processed by bees from sucrose syrups. In all winter store samples the ratio was close to 1 or higher. Instead, in the examined honeys the ratio did not exceed 1 and averaged 0.46. The observation needs to be confirmed using broader experiment material, especially using a higher number of winter store samples from sucrose syrups examined for carbohydrate composition. The current standards still stipulate for 5% as the admissible sucrose content of nectar honeys. The product processed by bees from sugar (from sugar beet sucrose) will not be disqualified by a requirement laid down in this manner. What is characteristic of and what distinguishes those inverts is an erlose content of several percentage points.
Honey, sucrose syrup, carbohydrates, capillary gas chromatography, adulteration, identification
Submit your Manuscript to JAS
Use our Editorial System to submit your paper
JAS Current Articles
Current Issues