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IV.3.1.1. HONEY

 

                                                                                 Roman salute "Let’s honey flow for you!"

The honey: it is a sugar-like substance, viscous, semi-liquid, produced by the bees from nectar and honeydew, by the aid of the invertase. A definition which is downright ugly and literally-accurate! The honey has two sources: the nectar of the flowers - offering monofloral and polyfloral honeys or - and the honeydew. The quality of honeys depends on: the soil in which the nectariferous plants grow, the species of these plants, the harvest time, the amount of water that the soil contains, the manipulation during harvesting, storage and marketing, etc..

Physical characteristics of honey: sweet taste, characteristic; it is viscous, odorless

Typically, depending on the source of origin, it has an average density of 1.417 at a temperature of 2000C, with variables between 1.39 and 1.44, color - pigments according to sources, it is highly hygroscopic, crystallizes coarser or finer depending on the amount of water contained, contains fine traces of royal jelly and pollen, it is thermosensitive - subject to temperatures above 400C, it begins to lose their original qualities, it is photosensitive (Biachi, 1989).

Biochemical composition of honey: 17.2% water, amino acids - less than 1% of the dry weight of honey, 81.3% carbohydrates, enzymes (over 800 known), hormones, organic acids, lipids, antibiotic substances, inhibition factors, antigerminative pigments, aromatic compounds, traces of pollen and royal jelly (Bonagia et al., 1983; Gonnet et al., 1989; Andriţoiu, 2002, 2004, 2006).

Sugars in honey (95-96% of the dry matter of honey) are represented by the glucose - 32.8%, fructose - 38.45%, maltose - 3.79%, sucrose - 5-7%, other sugars.

Amino acids in the honey are determined by the photocolorimetric method (Bianchi, 1989), their total amount is reduced: lysine, histidine, threonine, arginine, serine, methionine, glutamic acid, isoleucine, proline, glycine, alanine, cysteine ​​(Andriţoiu, 2006). The honey proteins are found in small amounts from 0.15 to 0.70%, their content and quantity are different, depending upon their origin.

Minerals in honey: iron 16 mg% 0.08 mg% copper, 0.2% manganese, silicon, chlorine 19 mg%, calcium 11 mg% sodium 11 mg%, potassium 31 mg%, sulfur 5 mg%, phosphorus 0.9 mg%; vanadium, zirconium, titanium, nickel, tin, lead, silver, gold, bismuth, strontium (Capolongo, 1997; Alphandéry, 1989; Andriţoiu, 2006; Andriţoiu and Andriţoiu, 2010).

Vitamins in honey: range B vitamins (B1-thiamine, B2-lactoflavine, ovoflavine, riboflavine, B3-PP, B5, pantothenic acid, B6, pyridoxine, folic acid B9, B12, cyanocobalamin), vitamin C, all fat-soluble vitamins : provitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E (trace), vitamin K (traces). (Andriţoiu, 2006).

Enzymes: in honey have been identified over 800 enzymes, the most important being: diastase, invertase, sucrase, catalase, acid phosphatase, peroxidase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) glucosidase (α and β), acetyltransferase, cytochrome oxidase, tyrosinase, monophenols monooxygenase, glycosyl transferases, lipase, sucrase, ascorbic acid oxidase, inhibin etc. (Vecchi et al., 1969; Andriţoiu, 2006).

Organic acids in honey: acetic, butyric, citric, formic, maleic, oxalic, piroglutamic, lactic, succinic, glycolytic, 2 or -3 phosphogliceric, α-ketoglutarate, pyruvic, tartaric (Andriţoiu, 2006).

Aromatic compounds in honey: carbonyls such as formaldehyde, acetic aldehyde, isobutiraldehide, butyraldehyde, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, alcohols: isopropanol, ethanol, 2-butanol, 4-propanol, 3-pentanol, isobutanol, 3-methyl-2-butanol, 3 -methyl-1-butanol, n-butanol, β-methyl alcohol, 2-methyl-1-butanol, phenylethyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, esters: methyl formiat, ethyl formiat, diethyl ether, various (Andritoiu, 2006).

Lipids of honey as acids: palmitic, stearic, linoleic, oleic, lauric, myristoleic, stearic, linolenic (Cyril et al., 1973; Andriţoiu, 2006).

Antibiotics and antigerminative factors: the honey is antiseptic. Since 1906, in a remarkable work, of nomenclature, carried out on the bacterial flora of the hive, G. F. White has shown that honey is perfectly sterile and does not contain any form of vegetative bacteria. Much later, has been confirmed this result by an accurate bacteriological analysis. The fresh, natural honey, rich in catalase, releases into solution a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, thus having a certain antibiotic value (Snowdon et al., 1996, 1999).

Growth factors: mostly originated from pollen, apilarnil and royal jelly (Gonnet, 1989; Harnaj, 1989; Neacsu, 2002; Andriţoiu, 2004, 2006 and so on).

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