Alteration in linden honey colour properties by storage and heat treatment

Monday, March 24, 2014

Authors: Mariann Csóka, Pál Tolnay, Andras S. Szabó




Change of Colour Parameters of Linden-Honey as a Function of Heat Treatment and Storage Colour and rheological properties are important physical parameters, determining the price on world-market, as well. Transport and storage for long time, not appropriate conditions for processing can have a negative effect on the quality, influencing the sensory properties, as well.


The investigation of honey samples was carried out using MINOLTA CR-100 equipment, which is able to give the trichromatic values of CIELAB in L, a*, b* coordination system. The values of colour parameters in dependence of temperature and duration of the treatment were different the change of colour in case of high temperature (90°C) treatment was significant.




The role of bees in agriculture and the significance of apiculture and honey production are well-known. Beekeeping is of exceptional economic importance in Hungary, bearing the highest areal bee population in the European Union with 1.2 million bee families recorded in 2012. Challenges of food inspection and quality control regarding honey grading are the examination of sensory/ physical/chemical properties, contaminant analysis and a documentary investigation of honey origin [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]. Presence of cheap Asian honey, from illegal import sources mainly from China, is a global problem. At most 3/4 part of the honey sold in groceries in the USA is not what originally was produced by bees [6]. Besides alimentary purposes honey has also important medicinal applications [7].


Research in honey testing has been carried out for years at our department [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15].


Amongst others, effects of heat treatment and storage on physical (colour) and chemical properties (content of hydroxyl methyl furfural, diastase activity) and any possible correlations have been investigated. We hereby report our results concerning colour changes of linden honey. Examination of physical and chemical parameters plays an important role in testing as the presence or absence of certain components may be indicative of the condition

of honey. It can refer to poor storage conditions (e.g. too high/low temperature), overheating or even the presence of extraneous substances (e.g. corn syrup).


Counterfeit becoming more and more common also emerges the development of new powerful strategies for honey testing. Malstorage or aggressive heat treatment is known to be harmful for the quality of honey and usually result in colour changes. According to the directions for honey in the Codex Alimentarius Hungaricus products should be stored in closed vessel between 5 and 40 °C and the core temperature cannot proceed 40°C during treatment. As the colour of honey may differ also by type there are no relations for colour as a physical parameter. It can, however, be a useful additional information to measure colour changes, considering possible chemical processes, and compare them to the known specific colour of a certain honey type.



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