Honey Analysis

Prof. Everaldo Attard and Mr Adrian Bugeja Douglas from the University of Malta have recently published a chapter in a book about Maltese Honey. Honey Analysis has 15 chapters divided into two sections: one section that is dedicated to the analysis of bioactive, physicochemical, and microbiological compounds and another that addresses techniques for the detection of residues and heavy metals. The book was complied with chapters by authors from nine countries (Brazil, Chile, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey) and at least three continents (South America, Europe, and Oceania). The topics discussed here are physical-chemical analysis of honey, new methods for amino acid analysis, chemical residues, heavy metals, phenolic content and bioactive components, microbiological analysis, antimicrobial activity, and honey as functional food. Also there are notions of trade and characterization of honey in these countries, presenting the reality of the local market of these countries and their perspectives so that we can know more about the techniques used as well as the importance of this activity for each country. This may facilitate the use of innovative techniques that may enable increased competitiveness and the world honey trade.

Chapter Abstract

Physicochemical Characterization of Maltese Honey


The Maltese Islands are renowned for the production of genuine honey from different floral sources depending on the season and the location of the apiary. Honey samples were collected directly from local beekeepers over a period of 4 years. Each sample was coded and the details provided by the beekeepers were recorded. A total of 259 samples were collected. The distribution of the apiaries was also considered for the three honey seasons: spring, summer and autumn. All samples were tested for the parameters according to the EU Directive on Honey (2001/110/EC) and the Harmonised Methods of the International Honey Commission (2009). The samples were analysed for consistency (by appearance), moisture content and Brix (by refractometry), colour index, diastase, proline and hydroxymethylfurfural (by spectrophotometry), pH and electrical conductivity (by pH/conductivity meters), salinity (chloride meter), free acidity (by titrimetry), polyphenols (by the Folin-Ciocalteu test), sugar content (high performance liquid chromatography), antioxidant activity (by DPPH and FRAP) and antimicrobial activity. The Maltese honey can be classified into three seasons with distinctive physicochemical characteristics. Honey originating from particular season showed significantly different values for specific parameters. Typically, high sucrose content is found in spring honey and a high conductivity in autumn honey.

Click on the following link for further information: https://www.intechopen.com/books/honey-analysis/physicochemical-characterization-of-maltese-honey

An ancient apiary in Malta, dating from the Punic era. The jars used to be placed in the wall holes. The beekeepers used to enter from the small door to add extensions to the back of the jars.