Honey & Honey Adulteration Detection: A Review
Laleh Mehryara, Mohsen Esmaiilib
a Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Urmia, Iran (firstname.lastname@example.org)
b Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Urmia, Iran (email@example.com)
Honey is an ancient valuable food and in most cases has enchanted its consumers by its medic
characteristics. It consists mainly of sugars. Honey composition according to the studied
literature is mainly dependant on its floral source and differs in various honeys. The dietary
frauds in particular the adulteration are practices in constant progress. Adulteration consists of
adding external chemical substance(s) into a food product that contains naturally similar
substance(s). Honey adulteration appeared on the world market in the 1970s when high-
fructose corn syrup was introduced by the industry. Many foods have the potential to be
deliberately adulterated, but those that are expensive and are produced under wide fluctuations
in weather and harvesting conditions are particularly susceptible;? honey is one of such
material. Although the adulteration of honey is not injurious to health, problems of honey fraud
negatively influence market growth by damaging consumer confidence. It seems quite
necessary that preparing an overall review of the applied procedures by researchers in detecting
honey adulteration would be useful and serve as a good source in oncoming works.
Gas Chromatography (GC) and Liquid Chromatography (LC) analysis: This method may
be considered as a replacement of isotopic analysis, which has some limitations.
Near Infrared Transflectance Spectroscopy (NIR): It is a rapid, non-destructive and
relatively inexpensive method which may be suitable for use as a screening technique in the
quality control of honey .
Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy with Attenuated Total Reflectance
(ATR): In contrast to the time-consuming carbon isotope ratio analysis techniques, these FTIR
spectroscopic procedures can be performed in very short time .
Protein characterization: The major proteins in honey have different molecular weights
depending upon the honeybee species. Therefore, the measurement of major proteins in honey
is a useful method to discriminate the honey that produced from different honeybee species.
High-Performance Anion-Exchange Chromatography with Pulsed Amperometric
Detection (HPAEC-PAD): It is an efficient tool for the characterization of the honey floral
species. This method is less time consuming and less expensive than other methods .
11th International Congress on Engineering and Food - Athens, Greece, 2011 1713
Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (HPLC-IRMS):
The new procedure has advantages over existing methods in terms of analysis time, sensitivity,
lack of sample preparation, reduced consumption of reagents, and simplicity of the operative
procedure. In addition, it is the first isotopic method developed that allows beet sugar addition
Calorimetric methods (Application of DSC): Application of DSC showed the possibility of
using the glass transition temperature to distinguish between honeys and syrups and is a
powerful technique for characterizing the thermal behavior of honeys and for detecting the
effect of adulteration on physicochemical and structural properties of samples.
Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio Analysis (SCIRA): It is determined by the 13C/12C isotope ratio,
which is different in C4 or CAM plants, when compared to C3 plants .
Fourier Transform (FT) Raman spectroscopy: FT-Raman spectroscopy is successfully
applicable to detect beet and cane invert syrups. This method can also be used to discriminate
between the types of adulterants irrespective of its floral origin .
Microscopic detection: Microscopic analysis of adulterated honeys with cane sugar exhibited
parenchyma cells, single ring vessels and epidermal cells. Overall the microscopic procedure is
a good screening method for the detection of adulteration of honey with cane sugar products.
To sum up, according to the obtained data from studied literature it is to some extent obvious
that nearly the majority of physicochemical characteristics of honey depend on floral source.
Honey adulteration is a critical problem which is determined by various techniques to get
information from each aspect of it. Based on the type of adulterants each applied method seems
to be beneficiary by itself.
 Kelly J.D., Petisco C. & Downey G. 2006. Potential of near infrared transflectance spectroscopy to
detect adulteration of Irish honey by beet invert syrup and high fructose corn syrup. J. Near Infrared
Spectrosc. 14, 139-146.
 Gallardo-Velázquez T., Osorio-Revilla G., Zuñiga-de Loa M. & Rivera-Espinoza Y. 2009.
Application of FTIR-HATR spectroscopy and multivariate analysis to the quantification of
adulterants in Mexican honeys. Food Research International 42, 313–318.
 Morales V., Corzo N. & Sanz M.L. 2008. HPAEC-PAD oligosaccharide analysis to detect
adulterations of honey with sugar syrups. Food Chemistry 107, 922–928.
 Cabañero A.I., Recio J.L. & Rupérez M. 2006. Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Isotope Ratio
Mass Spectrometry: A New Perspective on Honey Adulteration Detection. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54,
 Paradkar M.M. & Irudayaraj J. 2001. Discrimination and classification of beet and cane inverts in
honey by FT-Raman spectroscopy. Food Chemistry 76, 231–239.