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Analysis of Environmental Contaminants in Australian Honey and Comparison to Stingless Bee Honey from Queensland and Malaysia

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Hungerford, N. L., Tan, B. L. L., Tinggi, U., Zawawi, N., Farrell, M., Tsai, H. H., Hnatko, D., Swann, L. J., Kelly, C. L., R. Anuj, S., Webber, D. C., Were, S. T. and Fletcher, M. T. (2019) Analysis of Environmental Contaminants in Australian Honey and Comparison to Stingless Bee Honey from Queensland and Malaysia. Proceedings, 36 (1). p. 101. ISSN 2504-3900

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019036101

Publisher URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2504-3900/36/1/101


Honey is a widely available natural sweetener containing sugars, and small quantities ofvitamins and minerals, proteins, amino acids and fatty acids. Owing to its nutritious components,commercial honeys are sold in bulk blends or as trendy and premium products. Meanwhile, honeybees are considered as environmental monitors and have the potential to transfer environmentalcontaminants, if present, to honey. In high density urban and industrial environments polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals can be prevalent, whilst pesticides and mineraland trace elements are ubiquitous. Honey hives are traditionally located in rural and forested areas,but there is a growing trend to locate hives in urban areas. This project has investigated the presenceof environmental contaminants in honey samples from high density urban, peri-urban as well asrural areas. Australian honey samples (n = 211) were purchased between 2016 and 2018, including52 honeys claiming to be of urban origin purchased online. Stingless bee honeys (n = 36) fromQueensland and Malaysia were compared. Processed samples were analysed by UHPLC-MS/MS(herbicides), GC-MS/MS (pesticides and PAHs) and ICP-MS and ICP-OES (elemental analyses). Theresults showed low or negligible pesticide, herbicide, and PAH contamination, and that these lowresults were similar regardless of urban or rural origins. Wide variations of essential trace element(Fe, Zn, Cu, Mo, Co, Mn, Cr) and mineral levels (K, Na, P, Mg, Ca) were found in honey products,which are a good dietary source of K and Zn. Relatively low levels of toxic heavy metals were foundin honeys.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:honey environmental contaminants Queensland Malaysia stingless bee honey
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Plant culture > Food crops
Animal culture > Insect culture and beneficial insects
Animal culture > Insect culture and beneficial insects > Bee culture
Live Archive:31 Aug 2020 07:35
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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