Analysis of the amino acid composition of pollen and honey

Author: Rita Végh, Zsuzsanna Mednyánszky, Mária Amtmann


Nowadays, an important direction in food analytical research is the development of methods for detecting honey counterfeiting. The amino acids in honey come mainly from pollen, raising the possibility of origin determination based on the examination of amino acid composition [1]. In our research, the free amino acid composition of single flower honeys and the pollen from their original plants were compared. According to our results, there is no correlation between the amino acid profiles of the pollen and the honeys, which is mainly due to the fact that it is rare that the pollen composition of single flower honeys strongly reflects the flower character. Our results support the hypothesis that proline comes from the bees, and the proline content of the pollen contributes to the high proline content of honey only marginally. Pollen pellet samples also contain large amounts of nectar and glandular secretions in addition to the pollen, and thus have a significantly lower free amino acid content than pollen samples collected directly from the flowers. In the course of the research, the total amino acid content of the pollen pellets was in the 6 to 16% range. Compared to other amino acids, proline was present in a significantly higher proportion in the free form than in the protein-bound form. There are contradictory data in the literature regarding the ability of bees to select among different pollens according to their needs [2, 3]. According to our results, the amino acid composition of pellets selected by the bees reflects their amino acid requirements better than unifloral samples. The rapeseed pellet, which is particularly preferred by the bees, has an amino acid composition that is different from the optimal one, but it has an outstanding essential amino acid content, so it is likely that a quantitative, and not qualitative protein intake regulation is carried out by the bees.


Download Article


Download Complete Issue


Former Issues