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Physicochemical analysis of honey samples produced in Paraíba (Brazil)
* 1 , 1 , 1 , 2 , 2 , 2
1  Graduation in Chemistry, Agrarian Sciences Center; Universidade Federal da Paraíba, 58397-000, Areia, PB, Brazil
2  Department of Chemistry and Physics, Agrarian Sciences Center; Universidade Federal da Paraíba, 58397-000, Areia, PB, Brazil


The National Agency of Sanitary Vigilance (Anvisa) defines honey as being the natural product produced by bees from flower nectar and/or saccharin exudates of plants. The chemical composition of honey includes sugars, vitamins, minerals, and compounds from secondary metabolism, such as terpenoids and phenolics. The nutritional and medicinal potential of honey make it widely appreciated and commercially exploited. According to Anvisa, the addition of any substance to honey is prohibited, turning the honey into an adulterated product. Thus, the physicochemical analysis is required to ensure the quality of the product. In the present study, five commercial honey samples produced in the Brejo region of Paraíba (Brazil) were analyzed in order to verify possible adulteration or handling problems during product storage or transportation. The Fiehe reaction was performed in order to verify the presence of substances produced by overheating. Lugol reaction was carried out to investigate addition of starch and dextrins, and Lund reaction was performed to verify the level of albuminoid or precipitable substances. Among the samples analyzed, samples II and V showed a positive result in the reaction of Fiehe, indicating the presence of hydroxymethylfurfural, resulting from the degradation of sugars in acidic conditions, mainly when the honey is heated, which can occur during transport or storage. Sample V also presented evidences of adulteration in the Lund and Lugol reactions. Unadulterated honeys promoted the formation of precipitates during the Lund reaction. In sample V the absence of precipitate was observed, which indicates an adulteration/dilution. Sample V also showed evidence of starch addition in the Lugol reaction. The results indicated adulteration in sample V analyzed and heating problems in sample II. The present work emphasizes the continuous need of physical-chemical evaluation to guarantee the quality of these commercial products.

Keywords: Honey, physicochemical analysis, quality control