Wildlower honey is a product from the nectar of the flowers of plants. Bee foragers fly from flower to flower, and a suck with a proboscis from the bottom of flower corolla small amounts of nectar. In their honey goiter the nectar is mixed with acids and enzymes, and then deposited in the cells of wax combs. Nectar – a sweet and aromatic juice from nectaries of flowers. Nectaries are a group of specialized cells. Nectar contains 50-75% of water, 20-24% of sugars, 13-24%: cane sugar, minerals, proteins, essential oils, carotene, vitamins, etc.
The bees visit mainly flowering plants with nectar which has a higher sugar content. Transformation of nectar in honey – a complex physiological, chemical and physical process. All the working part of the bee colony deals with it. Filling honey-goiter with nectar, bee-picker returns to the hive. There it meets other bees – receptionists of nectar – the young bees that do not take off for collection and perform a different job in the hive. After returning to the hive, the bee-nectar-picker wide spreads upper jaws and produces a drop of nectar on the surface of the front of the proboscis. At this time the bee-receptionist takes this nectar with its proboscis. This procedure lasts about 4 minutes, then bee-picker again goes for nectar. Brought nectar contains a large amount of water (up to 90%). To transform the nectar into the honey there are series of chemical and physical processes that increase the sugar content due to evaporation of water up to 20%. By influence of enzymes and acids there is a split (inversion) of sucrose (ordinary sugar) into glucose (grape sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar), from sugars are formed organic acids. Some authors believe that the conversion of nectar into honey begins when nectar falls into goiter of honey bee foragers. By purely physical path the water goes from the nectar into the hemolymph, and from there through the Malpighian tubules, it goes to the rectum and is excreted from the body. At this time in the body of the bee the nectar is enriched with enzymes, organic acids, etc. This view on the reduction of percentage of water in the nectar, when it is in a goiter of the honey bees is not shared by many authors. Research conducted at the Agricultural Experiment Station of Iowa (1926-1932) by Park showed that while collecting nectar and bee flight the proportion of water rather increases. In 1941 Pozedah -Revelayn had similar experiences, and proved that the walls of а goiter do not leak the water. It was found that the evaporation of water from the nectar and its transformation into a mature honey is made in cells in the honeycombs of hive, where the air is warm and dry.
After the nectar is processed young bees continue to chew it with their jaws nearly 20 minutes. This treatment is a consistent and repeated moving of nectar droplets through the upper jaw and then swallowing it back, at which time the nectar is exposed to warm air and its circulation in the hive. This nectar loses a part of the water content and becomes saturated enzymes, secreted by the salivary glands of bees. Thus treated nectar is deposited in wax cells that are not filled to the top, they continue the maturation of nectar and in 2-4 days the content of sugar in it reaches 70-80%. After concentrating the nectar is transferred to another cells, where the maturation ends and nectar becomes mature honey. It is required for this process the quick ventilation and continuous flapping of wings of bees, located on the bottom and on the walls of the hive in one or two rows and deferent moist air. Park put the honeycomb in a metal grid so the bees had no contact with it, but it appeared that the honey was matured during the same period, as well as in the cells to which the bees had access. Honey matured two times faster in cells filled only in half than in cells filled up full.
Processing nectar into honey depends on the breed of bees, their age, the number of bee families and climatic conditions. Changes, occurring in the processing and maturation of the honey, as the factors causing them, have not been studied well.
After bee fill wax cells with honey, they seal them. Such honey can be stored for a long time. One bee colony in modern collapsible hive can collect in nectariferous season up to 150 kg of honey. To collect one kilo of honey, bees must bring nectar to the hive from 12 000 to 150 000 times. If the flowers, from which it collects nectar, are at a distance of 1.5 km (0.93 miles), the bee should fly every time 3 km (2 miles) to bring the nectar to the hive . To obtain 1 kg of honey at such distance, the bee should fly 360-460 thousand miles – the distance is 11 times greater than the circumference of the globe at the equator.
Physical and Chemical Properties
The consistency of fresh wildflower honey is a thick transparent pap, began with the passage of time to gradually crystallize and harden. When you take the honey with a spoon and twirl it, then immature honey drips from it. Fermented honey wounds on a spoon, stratifying folds, like a ribbon and flows as an interruptible thread from it. Pure honey remains liquid for as long as it is sealed in the cells of the honeycomb, located in the hive at 20-30 C (68-86 F). The consistency of honey, containing more than 30% of the water is unnaturally runny. This honey is obtained by pumping with the centrifuge from unsealed combs (not mature honey) in wet years. Sour or fake honey is liquid too, more than normal.
The usual honey contains less water – 14 to 15%. The consistency of honey is influenced by not only the concentration of sugars, but also their type. Honey, containing more fructose (levulose), is thinner than honey, which has more glucose and other highest sugars. Honeydew honey is more dense because it contains more sucrose and vegetable glues. A special characteristic of honey faked by inverted sugar and the honeydew – non-splittable thin filaments. This is a distinguishing feature of honeydew is very important, because the natural wildflower honey has stretching filaments, which break.Air and containing gases also affect the density of honey. Honey retains liquid consistency for a certain time, and then crystallizes. Concentration of sugars, their form and structure are the main factors influencing the crystallization of honey. Glucose and sucrose Crystallize, but fructose remains in a liquid state. The more honey contains fructose, the longer it remains liquid. Crystallization of honey slows when it increases the percentage of dextrin, protein and vegetable glues in its composition. Percentage of impurities (mainly minerals) also has an impact on the speed of crystallization.
The above factors have an impact not only on the rate of crystallization, but also on its essence. Honey contains more glucose crystallizes faster, by large, delicate crystals. Honey with a higher percentage of fructose crystallizes very slow and has strange-formed, small crystals. Honey, containing more minerals, crystallizes gradually, not exfoliating. Rough and large crystals are in crystallized honey, which has more sucrose. Often there is a crystallization of the honey in the comb, with small white and unsweetened crystals. As seen from the above, the crystallization of honey begins with a grape sugar, followed by fruit sugar. Depending on the ratio of these two sugars in the honey the crystallization is slower or faster. If the grape sugar is contained in honey in a small amount, then it remains at the bottom, and fruit sugar on it – they form two layers (upper liquid and lower granular). Initially, crystallization starts around individual crystals, detected by the microscope in the cells. Crystallization of honey indicates its purity. The important feature of a good quality of honey is also its density. Specific weight of honey varies between 1,420-1,440. One liter of honey weighs 1.420 kg (3 lbs). Honey freezes at – 36’C (-32 F), and its volume is reduced by 10%, and when heated – is expanding, so at 25 C (77 F), its volume increases by 5%. Candied honey in a room at 35 ° C (95 F) or in a water bath at about 50 C (122 F) gradually becomes liquid.
Color. Depending on coloring substances in the nectar (carotene, chlorophyll, etc.), the color of honey can be different – from colorless, light yellow, lemon yellow, golden yellow, dark yellow, brownish green to black. Lightest honey – is from acacia, with a slight cream color. Predominant color of wildflower honey is yellow, and less often dark brown, reaching green. Honey, collected in early spring, is from bright yellow to orange, and honey, produced from the unflower nectar, is almost colorless or greenish.
Only color can not be a criterion for determining the kinds of honey. Honeydew honey, depending on plant, from which it is obtained, may be yellow (from deciduous), brown (from buckwheat), dark red (from peas), dark brown (tobacco), etc. Over time, honey loses its original color. Usually it is darker, and during crystallization – brightens. Honey stored in a metal (copper) packaging is blue-green, and in the iron container – dark red.
Aroma. Different varieties of honey differ in flavor. Based on this criterion you can know the quality and the origin of honey. Honey smell is caused by the presence of specific volatile organic substances, found in the nectar of flowers. Essential oils, secreted by special cells of glands, located adjacent to the nectaries, have exclusive specificity by which we can accurately determine the origin of honey. Flavor intensity depends on the amount of volatile organic compounds in honey. Some varieties of honey, such as chestnut, rape, etc., have relatively weak scent, for which it is impossible to determine the grade. Honeydew honey have also no flavor.
Aromatics in honey disappear with time, especially when it is not stored properly (in sealed containers and at the appropriate temperature.) In heated or stored in a high temperature honey flavors and aromatics evaporate and aroma becomes weaker or replaced by the odor of fermented honey. Honey quickly and easily perceives the smell of environment, so it is necessary to avoid packing it in unclean containers or store it in poorly ventilated spaces near products with strong odor (fish, cheese, pickles).
Honey, obtained from bees, fed with sugar syrup, contains no volatile organic compounds and therefore it has no aroma characteristics of wildflower honey.
Taste. Honey differs from other food by a pleasant taste, depending on its origin and composition. Due to the combination of flavor with the sweetness of sugars and acidity from organic acids, honey has a sweet, slightly sour taste. Some varieties of honey as chestnut, tobacco, willow, and others, together with a sweet taste, have a bitter taste, which can be very strong. Sweetness of honey directly depends on the concentration of constituent sugars and their origin. The sweetest honey is fructose honey. Honey, obtained from bees, fed with sugar or artificial glucose, grape or watermelon honey, gelatin and starch is less sweet than the wildflower honey. If honey is faked with impurities of saccharin, dulcinea and glycerol it’s taste can be very sweet, and has alkaline reaction. Honey, stored in metal containers, can acquire a metallic taste, and honey, which began to deteriorate, has an unpleasant sour taste.
Chemical composition of wildflower honey
From a chemical point of view, the honey is a complex mixture. It is composed of glucose, fructose and sucrose, dextrin, water, proteins, non-protein nitrogen, enzymes, organic acids, minerals, vitamins, etc. The composition of honey, obtained from the nectar of various types, ie from different honey plants is not the same, depending on its origin, maturity and time of year. According Lutinger a natural honey in France must have the following chemical composition: water 17, 20%, 0.40% of sucrose, fructose 32, 10%, glucose 34.45%, protein 1.80%, 1.10% of acid, minerals 0.75%, 0.90% of wax. Prof. Zander of Erlang Beekeeping Institute gave the following composition of honey, which is natural in Germany: 17.50% of water, invert sugar 73.88%, 2% of sucrose, dextrin and other similar substances 0.66 %, 0.1% of nitrogen compounds, acids 2.25%, 0.23% of minerals, aromatic and dyes – traces. Italian scientists Pawan and Brang from Hygienic Institute in Pavia say that natural honey contains: water from 19.39 to 19.75% and sugar from 75.76 to 82.4%.
Glucose and fructose are inverted sugar in honey. They are derived from the nectar, in which they are in a free state, or from sucrose because of its cleavage by enzymes. Invert sugar is 80% in flower honey, and in honeydew – usually 60-70%.The more inverted sugar in the honey, the more valuable. Honey, faked by saccharin, dulcinea, glycerol, starch, gelatin or sucrose as the honey obtained from bees, fed with sugar syrup, always contains less inverted sugar. The honey, faked by artificial invert sugar, may contain different amounts, sometimes approaching the normal range of inverted sugar. Usually there is more fructose in honey than glucose. Elevated levels of glucose gives reason to doubt the falsification of honey by artificial glucose.
Sucrose in flower honey contains up to 5%, and in honeydew – up to 10%. This percentage may be higher during the great honey harvest when the ability of the enzymatic processing of bees is disturbed by large harvest of nectar or honeydew. The increase of sucrose is observed in honey, obtained from bees with a reduced activity of the salivary glands, so optimal treatment is not performed by enzymes of sucrose from the nectar or honeydew. In honey with a high content of enzymes, which is stored in normal conditions, the percentage of sucrose is gradually reduced. If honey is in direct sunlight (destructiving enzymes), sucrose is at the same level as it was before. Bees, fed with sugar syrup, do not have an adequate supply of enzymes for cleavage of sucrose, so the amount of sucrose in honey more than 25%. Honey, faked by sucrose or artificial invert sugar, contains a high percentage of sucrose, due to incomplete inversion.
Increased percentage of sucrose in honey is an indication of poor quality of honey, and when the amount of sucrose more than the normal limits, it is almost always an evidence, that it is received from the bees, fed with sugar syrup. Quantity of dextrin in flower honey is not more than 2%, and honeydew – up to 5%. Defining it in the lab is performed simultaneously with sucrose. A large quantity of dextrin in honey has an impact on its density – the more dextrin, the thicker honey and slower crystallization.
Microelements in honey. In the composition of honey there are phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, chlorine, sulfur, lead, and other macro- and microelements. Almost all the authors have the opinion that the dark honey contains a higher percentage of minerals. American scientists X. Shueti and E. Hart found that in light honey there are 4 times less iron and 2 times less copper and 14 times less magnesium than in the dark. Light honey contains up to 0.16% of mineral salts, and dark – up to 0.26%. There are also some similarities between the mineral composition of honey and human blood. Normal flower honey contains up to 0.35% minerals and up to 0.85% – in Honeydew. Grains of pollen in the nectar, the quantity of dust, falling impure admixtures when pumping, cleaning and storage of honey have great importance. Honey stored in metal containers (copper, iron, zinc) contains more minerals, as gradually decomposes metals and forms salts with them. Minerals of honey have dual origin: one is derived from the natural composition of nectar, and the other – from additional impurities. This is the reason that different researchers found different mineral content in the analysis of the mineral composition of similar honeys. Pure honey has minerals – 0.50% – in Acacia, 0.19% – in lime, 0.09% – in sunflower, 0.63% – in Honeydew, etc. Particular importance for the maintenance of sanitation is the main elements in honey – potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and silicon. Calcium is considered as one of the dominant elements. Sodium, potassium and phosphorus, taken together, are less than half the total amount of salt. In natural honey there are only traces of silicon are contained. If in the investigated honey silicon is found in larger quantities, this indicates that some of the minerals of honey were obtained from additional impurities. Minerals in honey helps to identify falsification of honey with ordinary sugar, regardless of whether it was made directly to the honey or bees were fed by sugar syrup. Such honey contains only traces of minerals, and the predominant element is silicon.
To know the mineral composition of honey it was burned in platinum crucibles in the continuation of 4 or more hours in a special furnace at 450 C (842 F) , the trace elements saved, but other components of the honey burned. The resulting area was burned again by the voltaic arc and spectral studies were made. Ash of honey was dissolved in distilled water and doses were injected to certain animals to study the effects of microelements to the relevant organisms.In the studied samples the following elements were found: aluminum (Al), beryllium (Be), boron (B), bismuth (Bi), barium (Ba), vanadium (V), germanium (Ge), gallium (Ga), iron ( Fe), gold (Au), tin (Sn), potassium (K), cobalt (Co), calcium (Ca), lithium (Li), magnesium (Mg), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), molybdenum ( Mo), nickel (Ni), sodium (Na), lead (Pb), silver (Ag), silicon (Si), titanium (Ti), phosphorus (P), chromium (Cr), zinc (Zn), sulfur ( S), chlorine (Cl), zirconium (Zr). So the composition of honey contains the elements Be, B, Ba, V, Ga, Ga, Ag, Co, Mo, Sr, Zr, Au . Composition elements in honey depend on the type of vegetation and on the mineral composition of the soil of the honey harvest. The importance of trace elements for the development of organisms and crops caused the occurrence of doctrine of “biogeochemical provinces” with corresponding maps of the provinces that have insufficient or excess of each of the required elements in the area. These cards have great economic and importance, as they will lead to moving crops and animals depending on the availability of trace elements in the area. For example, in areas with low boron and copper there is few agricultural products of legumes and grains. In areas where the soil is poor in cobalt, among animals there are diseases accompanied by loss of appetite, malaise, a violation of hematopoiesis.
Content and the need for trace elements in various organs and tissues are not identical. The largest amount of zinc found in the islets of the pancreas, molybdenum – in the kidneys, vanadium – in the eyes, strontium – in the bones, manganese and chromium – in the pituitary gland, etc. The use of micronutrients as a therapeutic agent in medicine began in the last decades. Numerous studies, conducted in different countries, indicate a great need for micronutrients as powerful bio-regulators, for the normal development of organisms, especially in obstetric practice for the normal development of the pregnancy and the proper development of the fetus. In the embryonic stage of development of the fetus the amount of trace elements is above the usual because of processes that make energy and growth of the organism. Higher concentrations of trace elements (Co, Cu, Mn, Zn, etc.) are found in the tissues of higher functional activity. Honey as a natural plant-animal product, containing such a large number of trace elements in the most appropriate form for absorption by the body, has no equal. The results of the analysis of all honeys show that wildflower honey varieties contain more minerals. Percentage of minerals is higher in dark varieties. Honeydew honey contains fewer elements, but some have more in number as compared to other varieties of honey.
From 0.3 to 1% of aluminium was found in the ash of 96.54% of samples. The percentage of aluminum in the floral and honeydew honey has no difference. Aluminum is necessary for the body, and its salts have astringent effect. In contact with the inflamed mucous membrane of the stomach or intestines it penetrates the surface layer and causes contraction of components, providing anti-inflammatory action. The aluminum content in the blood of women with normal pregnancy is two times more than in the blood of healthy non-pregnant women. Toxemia of pregnancy is when the aluminum content in the blood is reduced.
Beryllium 0.0001% was found in the ash of honey in only 14.28% of the samples of tested varieties. It is in flower, and in honeydew varieties, the latter has bigger percentage. The value of beryllium for the body is not well studied.
Boron was found in 92.85% of samples of honey, most often in flower varieties (95.66%) than in honeydew (80%). Content of boron in the ash of honey – from 0.03 to 1%. Growth processes are terminated in plants deprived of boron. Pre-treatment of seed grain with boron increases their productivity by 75%. Boron, molybdenum and copper promote the synthesis of vitamin C and sugars in plants. Boron is necessary for the body, it promotes it’s proper development.
Bismuth was found in 10.71% of samples of honey. There is – from 0.0002 to 0.0003 of bismuth in the ash content. In honeydew honey there is no bismuth. Bismuth salts have compression effect on the body. They destroy protozoan pathogen infection and syphilis.
Barium was found in 78.55% of samples floral and honeydew honey. In the ash of flower honey its content – from 0.01 to 0.1%, and in honeydew – from 0.01 to 0.03%. The value of barium for plant and animal life is poorly understood.
Vanadium – a rare item – was detected in 42.85% of samples of floral and honeydew honey. It’s content in the ash of honey is between 0,001 – 0,003%. In the body it stimulates red blood system, increasing erythropoiesis.
Germanium – too rare element – was found in 14.28% of the investigated varieties of honey. Its contents – 0.0001% in the flower and 0.0003% in honeydew honey. The importance of Germanium for the human body has not been investigated.
Gallium was found in 50% of samples of honey, though it is more commonly found in the flower (52.17%) than in honeydew (40%) honey. It’s content in flower honey is from 0.0003 to 0.0001%.
Iron is an integral part of plant and animal organisms. It is necessary for the proper functioning of tissues, cells and whole organism. In all studied varieties of honey the percentage of iron was 0.01 to 1%. During the study of ion composition of honey, it was found that 1 kg of honey contains an average of 11.05 mg of iron. Iron salts stimulate red blood cells and improve the activity of all cells. Iron is part of the respiratory enzyme, which is essential for tissue respiration. Changing at breakneck speed its chemical valence iron atom provides continuous absorption and release of oxygen, thus maintaining cellular respiration. Iron stimulates the nervous system, regulates the secretion of the glands and reduces the permeability of endothelial cell.
Gold is contained in 4.34% of samples of flower honey in amounts up to 0.0006%. In honeydew honey it was not found. In the body gold activates the function of the reticuloendothelial system and especially the capillary endothelium, has a specific therapeutic effect on TB infection, increases the effects of manganese and magnesium, contributes to the development of immunity, acts favorably with Psoriasis vulgaris, Lupus erithematodes, chronic arthritis, etc.
Tin was found in all studied varieties of honey in the range from 0.0001 to 1%. Its effect on the body is understudied.
Potassium – part of the body. All varieties studied honey contain an average of 1% potassium. 1 kg of honey in average contain 495.35 mg of potassium and sodium. Potassium is necessary for the synthesis of glycogen and protein. It has a diuretic and expectorant effects.
Cobalt is contained in 31.13% of the investigated honeys. Amount of it varies from 0.001 to 0.0003%. No significant difference of the percentage of cobalt in the flower or honeydew honey. Insufficient intake of cobalt in the body leads to loss of appetite, weakness, poor circulation. Cobalt is a part of vitamin B12. In biogeochemical areas there are infertility, impaired growth, weight and development. Cobalt deficiency leads to disruption of calcium and phosphorus in the body. Cobalt promotes the formation of vitamin A, C and E, has an effect on oxidative enzymes, reduces the absorption of oxygen by the tissues.
Calcium is found in all the studied varieties of honey, ranging from 0.3 to 1%. 1 kg of honey has in average 40.42 mg of calcium. Calcium is an essential element for the existence of plants and animals. It is a part of the protoplasm and is essential for building body tissues. Calcium is a component of bones, supports glands, muscles and nervous system. Calcium ions stimulate the contractile activity of the heart muscle and accelerate clotting. Calcium has a diuretic effect, promotes the release of sodium ions from the tissues and slows the development of inflammatory processes, has anti-allergic action.
Lithium was found in 14.28% of varieties of honey in an amount of 0.02 to 0.03%. Lithium salts have anti-arthritis activity, dissolve uric acid, improve diuresis, promote nitrogen metabolism in the muscle.
Magnesium is found in all the studied varieties of honey. 1 kg of honey contains an average of 18.88 mg of magnesium. There is no significant difference in the percentage of magnesium in the floral and honeydew honey. Magnesium salts have a laxative effect. They sedate (reassuringly) the nervous system and respiratory function, reduce convulsions in tetanus, slow the heart activity, facilitate the mediated exchange in the tissues, activates the reticuloendothelial system, neutralize toxic products of metabolism, enhance immunity and phagocytosis.
Copper is contained in all varieties of studied honey in amounts of 0.001 – 0.1%. There is no difference in the percentage of copper in the floral and honeydew honey. With the lack of copper hair get tough, there are discoloration, anemia, blood and reproduction disorders. Copper has a positive influence on the whole growth, phagocytic activity of blood, agglutination titer, promotes the formation of glycogen in the liver, is an essential activator of oxidative enzymes. Copper deficiency slows the conversion of aminoacids into proteins.
Manganese is found in all the studied samples of honey from 0,1 to 1%. On average, 1 kg of honey contains 8.93 mg of manganese. Manganese deficiency leads to impaired reproduction, growth, weight, and erythropoiesis. Manganese increases the phagocytic activity, mobilizes specific and nonspecific immunore-active forces of the body, stimulates (through inhibitory effect on the enzyme hyaluronidase) hyaluronic acid, causes the permeability of the cells. Low manganese content leads to a violation of bone formation and undigested calcium and phosphorus. Manganese promotes the synthesis of vitamin C, stimulates the adrenal glands, stimulates enzyme system.
Molybdenum was found in 25% of samples of honey – more often in flower varieties (26.08%) than in Honeydew (20%). Its amount varies from 0,001 to 0,003%. Molybdenum is needed for animal and plant worlds. It increases the phagocytic activity of blood, reduces the copper content in the liver and blood, promotes the synthesis of vitamin C in plants, is involved in nitrogen metabolism and enzymatic reactions of plants and animals. For the proper development of the organism daily intake of about 1.2 mg of molybdenum is needed. Molybdenum is part of enzymes involved in the formation of aminoacids and proteins. If we add this item to soils poor in molybdenum, we increase it’s productivity.
Nickel was found in 89.27% of varieties of honey in the amount of 0.0001 to 0.03%. It is needed for the body – increases the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin. 0.005 g of this element in the blood of donors after giving blood accelerates the regeneration of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and plasma proteins in the first day. Nickel reduces blood sugar.
Sodium was found in all studied varieties of honey – floral and honeydew. The amount is 1%. Sodium is a permanent part of the organisms. It regulates the osmotic pressure, is involved in the exchange of water in the cells, increases swelling of proteins, ie links them with water. Every body needs sodium in an amount of 4 to 5 gr., with the lack of sodium in the body the characteristic clinical syndromes develop: muscle weakness, malaise, anorexia, vomiting, thirst, impaired renal function.
Lead was found in 89.28% of the investigated varieties of honey. The amount of lead moves from 0.001 to 0.03%. Value of lead for the body is not well studied.
Silver was found in 89.28% of the investigated varieties of honey, and in the flower varieties it occurs more often – 91.34%, than in Honeydew – 80%. Amount of it in the honey – 0,0001-0,02%. Silver is necessary for the body: it reduces the permeability of tissues and increases the activity of ATPase.
Silicon is contained in 75% of samples of honey in the range from 0.3 to 1%. It occurs most often in the blood of mothers and pregnant women. The silicon content is increased in the blood of pregnant women with severe toxicosis.
Strontium was found in 85.717% of varieties of honey in the range from 0.01 to 0.03%. Strontium ion acts like potassium ion, but weaker and slower. Strontium facilitates isolation of metabolites via the kidneys and has a diuretic effect.
Titanium was found in 92.72% of the investigated varieties of honey. This element is necessary for the body – is involved in hematopoiesis. With the excitation of the central nervous system, it’s amount increases. Reduction of titanium in the blood is observed in newborns and pregnant women suffering from toxemia.
Phosphorus was found in all the studied samples of honey – from 0.1 to 1%. It is involved in the formation of bones, in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Phosphorus is a component of the enzyme and is related to the active catalyst and stimulator of the body.
Chromium was found in 89.72% of samples of honey – 0, 0001 to 0.06%.
Zinc was in 78.57% of the studied varieties of honey in the range from 0.0001 to 1%. Zinc deficiency affects adversely on reproduction, growth, weight, and the formation of hemoglobin eritrogeneze. Zinc affects the phagocytic activity of blood, reduces the permeability of the skin. Under its influence decreases the fat content in the liver and other internal organs, zinc reduces blood sugar. Zinc is a part of the respiratory enzyme carbonic anhydrase.
Zirconium was in 53.42% of samples of honey in an amount of from 0.0003 to 0.001%. The value of this element for the development of plant and animal life has not been studied enough.
Chlorine was found in all the studied varieties of honey in an amount depending on the type of honey. The body needs a constant supply of chlorine ions. Chlorine acts indirectly on the metabolism of the body.
Sulfur was found in 90.99% of the investigated honeys mainly in the form of sulphate. It is a normal stimulus of large intestines and has a laxative effect, promotes detoxification of heavy metal poisoning (lead, copper, mercury), activating the antitoxic function of the liver, increases the synthesis of glycogen, acts favorably with arthritis and has a keratolytic and antiprotozoal activity.
The above factual shows that honey is the most rich with micronutrients plant-animal product. Because of this it can be applied in diseases, treatable wth micronutrients. For example, honey, cobalt, and iron have been successfully used in the treatment of anemia. Cobalt promotes proper flow of the maternity process, improves the tone of the uterus, stops fallopian and postpartum bleeding. Similar effects have copper and manganese.
Cobalt and copper have beneficial effect on goiter. Small doses of copper impact on carbohydrate metabolism in diabetes. Polyneuritis and radiculitis have improved after using manganese, in endarteritis – copper and manganese, in glaucoma – cobalt, atherosclerosis and obesity – manganese and others. In the treatment of pediatric malnutrition and secondary anemia it was applied cobalt, copper, manganese and iron. With the above diseases, as well as a variety of other, honey, because it contained trace elements, has been used successfully as a therapeutic agent.
In the honey there are the following enzymes: invertase, diastase, catalase, oxidase, peroxidase, and proteolytic. Enzymes – a substance, secreted by a living cell. They contribute to the splitting of complex molecules into simpler, and the synthesis of the more simple substances into more complex, and help processes of nutrition and respiration. Enzymes act as catalysts (accelerators) in all the processes of the body, and they do not change or change little.
Heating of honey above 60 C (140 F) leads to the destruction of enzymes, evaporating of volatile essential oils and antimicrobial agents, settling of some compounds, sparingly soluble salts are formed, and the honey loses its flavor and becomes an ordinary mixture of sugars. With an increased water content of honey – more than normal boundaries – especially in warm weather honey ferments and thus forms bubbles of carbon dioxide, increasing its volume considerably. Fermented honey becomes fast liquid and loses its distinctive taste, and sours.
Enzymes are essential to determine the origin, damage, falsification of honey.
Invertase is a key enzyme of honey. Under its influence sucrose splits into glucose and fructose. Invertase in honey has a double origin: from the nectar of plants and from the bee saliva. Regardless of the concentration of sucrose in the nectar, invertase can not cause a complete cleavage of sucrose. Young and strong worker bees have salivary glands with the optimal production of saliva. When near the apiary there is abundant nectar, the bees quickly fill their goiters and carry it to the hive. In these cases, the nectar is in goiter only for a short time and is not enriched enough with saliva, and therefore enzymes. Bee workers continue processing the nectar into honey in the hive, and they are unable to make the ratio of enzymatic and the honey remains poor with enzymes and therefore the content of sucrose is increased. Honey obtained from the ordinary, normal place of collection, contains more enzymes, as the bee must visit many flowers to fill goiter. So nectar is a long time mixed with a lot of saliva, so that honey is a more high-quality.
Type of food collected by bees is also important. When it is rich in sucrose, there is the need to liberally mix it with saliva, such honey is rich in enzymes. When feeding bees with sugar syrup bees make great efforts to process the artificial feed. This honey contains more enzymes than honey derived from natural food sources, but it will not be enough to complete the full splitting of sucrose.
Amylase (diastase) is an enzyme involved in the decomposition of starch. Amylase as invertase, has a vegetable and animal origin. Contain of diastase in honey makes it possible to determine if it is clean, damaged or fake. Its quantity is considered one of the key indicators to assess the quality of honey. It depends on the same factors that were mentioned for invertase. In tainted honey the diastase quantity increases in direct proportion to the degree of it’s decomposition. It would be a mistake to consider this a valuable honey. This increase of diastase is indicative of the fact that it is the product of yeast, causing the expansion of honey.
Diastase index in the normal honey should not be less than 10.9.
Other enzymes are less important in determining the quality and evaluation of honey.
The acidity of honey
In the honey are investigated in a minimum of the following organic acids: malic, lactic, oxalic, citric, tartaric, etc. They are mainly in the form of salts. These acids are derived from the nectar, honeydew and glands of bees. The acidity of honey is equal to 3.78, but it varies depending on the type of honey, quality and duration of its storage. Old honey, began to deteriorate honey, and also honey, faked with artificial invert sugar, have high acidity, and faked with non-inverted sugar – very low. When overheated honey part of fructose dissolves and thus formic and levulinic acid are formed, increasing the acidity. Formic acid is usually not in the honey, as previously thought, and occurs when honey starts to deteriorate. Nitrogen compounds and proteins are in honey in very small quantities. In flower honey they range from 0.2 to 0.3%, and in honeydew – from 0.3 to 0.5%. The percentage depends on the amount of pollen and other organic contaminants during honey flow or centrifugal pumping. Honey, obtained by pressing the old combs or comb with larvae and pollen contains an increased amount of protein substances. In falsified with sugar honey proteins are not detected or there are only their footprints. About 1/10 of nitrogen in honey is amino-nitrogen. It is a valuable indicator for distinguishing natural honey from the faked with sugar. 100 grams of flower honey contain an average of 5 mg of amino-nitrogen, 100 g of honeydew honey – 4 mg, and 100 g of honey faked with sugar – no more than 1 mg of aminonitrogen.
Radioactivity of honey
In 1908, French chemist Alain Kaya said that he had discovered radioactive substances in honey. According to him, honey, collected in different localities, contains various doses of radioactive substances, and it depends on the radioactivity of area, from which nectar was collected by bees. The author found that the highest radioactivity has the honey obtained in parts of Tunisia.
Vitamins in honey. In addition to the above elements, enzymes and acids in the honey there are some vitamins. French chemist Alan Caillou opened vitamin B1. It is known that the lack of this vitamin in the diet leads to the disease beriberi, he fed the pigeons with polished rice, devoid of vitamin B1, as long as they have not developed the disease. After that Kaya added flower honey to the diet of pigeons and they recovered.
Goydak, Palmer, Tankari, Vivino and others have proved that honey contains six types of vitamins. Hough, Schmidt and Berghin conducted experiments on mice – they continue feeding them without vitamin A for 5 weeks, honey was added in food of control mice. It was found that the mice of the control group did not get sick, while others get sick with hypovitaminosis A. There are the following vitamins in honey: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, E, K, C and carotene. Vitamin B1 (aneurine) is in an amount of up to 0.1 mg per 1 kg of honey. It regulates the activity of the nervous system, supports the tone of the gastrointestinal tract, regulates carbohydrate metabolism, promotes the excretion of uric acid from the body, protects the teeth and has analgesic properties.Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) contain is up to 1.5 mg per 1 kg of honey. It is a part of the yellow respiratory enzyme involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and iron, protects against allergic diseases.
Vitamin B3 (pantothenic acid) contain is up to 2 mg per 1 kg of honey and it is involved in the normal structure and function of the skin, hair and mucous membranes.
Vitamin B5 (PP – nicotinic acid) is up to 1 mg per 1 kg of honey. It is involved in cellular processes related to the metabolism of carbohydrates, regulates the function of the skin, nervous system, improves peripheral circulation, has a beneficial effect on the liver parenchyma and promotes the oxidation-reduction processes of the body. Vitamin Bb (pyridoxine) is up to 5 mg per 1 kg of honey. It has a standard-tonic effect on the nervous system, skin and digestive organs.
Vitamin Bc (folic acid) stimulates the maturation of red blood cells and bone marrow.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) contain is up to 30-50 mg per 1 kg of honey. It is essential for normal tissue metabolism, activates prothrombin, promotes exchange and pigment formation defenses, is involved in maintaining the structure of bones, muscles, teeth, blood vessels, regulates the permeability of the capillary endothelium, increases the vitality of the body, stimulates growth, activates blood circulation.
Vitamin K (vitamin antihemorrhagic) promotes blood clotting, takes part in the synthesis of prothrombin.
Honey and nutrients are stimulants that increase the body’s vital functions. There were experiments discovered substances that stimulate cell growth. Various branches of trees were stood in a solution of honey and then planted in the ground, and they grow much faster. When the composition of honey is the nectar of species of one plant, honey is called monofloral, and if the nectar is collected from the flowers of different plants – polifloral honey. Monofloral honey is very rare. In practice, honey, belonging to one or another class is determined by the color, aroma and taste, prevailing in it nectar. Monofloral honey is a honey which contains wax grains of the same plant. Homogeneous honey is rare. Monofloral honey has the number of grains from species of one plant exceeding 50% of total grains. Modern beekeeping, put on a scientific basis, makes it possible to obtain monosort honey. After studying of reflexes of bees – it was opened a way of sending them to collect nectar from the desired plants. This training bees was reached with preliminary feeding them with syrup flavored with the smell of the same flower. Wildflower honey exists as long as there is a honey plant.