Evaluating the Quality and Physicochemical Properties of Honey Commercialized in Iran


Department of Food Industries and Agricultural Research, Standard Research Institute (SRI), Karaj, Iran Faculty of Health and Nutrition, Lorestan University of Medical Science, Lorestan, Iran


This study was intended to evaluate the quality of 30 honey samples, in terms of physicochemical properties such as moisture content, electrical conductivity, ash content, reducing sugars and sucrose, free acidity, pH, diastase activity, and hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content. Moreover, three methods recommended by the International Honey Commission for the determination of HMF, including 1) high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), 2) White spectrophotometry and 3) Winkler spectrophotometry methods, were compared. The average moisture content ranged from 12.08±0.36 to 19.36±0.11%. The Electrical conductivity values (0.43±0.00 to 0.77±0.00 mS/cm), ash content (0.24±0.01 to 0.74±0.03%), pH values (3.37±0.01 to 5.21±0.16), free acidity (29.60±0.36 to 39.66±0.37 meq/kg of honey), total reducing sugar (52.28±0.09 to 88.01±0.63%), sucrose content (2.21±0.07 to 7.55±0.35%), diastase activity (2.07±0.28 to 29.01±0.50), and HMF content (17.33±0.18 to 834.46±0.30 mg/kg) were observed. Thirteen out of 30 samples (43%) showed HMF content higher than standard limits. Results obtained from the current study revealed that except for HMF and diastase activity, all physicochemical properties of samples met the national and international standard limits. Moreover, three methods applied for determination of HMF showed good recovery values and standard deviation. However, Winkler and White methods gave higher HMF value in honey sample than HPLC method.


  1. Lee T.C., King H.J., Preface. In Lee TC., Kim H.J., (Eds.), Chemical markers for processed and stored foods, 3rd ed., American Chemical Society: Washington D.C., 1996.
  2. Aloisi P.V., 2010. Determination of quality chemical parameters of honey from Chubut (Argentinean Patagonia). Chem J Agricl Res. 70(4), 640-645.
  3. Al-Mamary M., Al-Meeri A., Al-Habori M., 2002. Antioxidant activities and total phenolics of different types of honey. Nutr Res. 22(9), 1041ââ‚‌“1047.
  4. Mehryar L., Esmaiili M., Hassanzadeh A., 2013. Evaluation of some physicochemical and rheological properties of Iranian honeys and the effect of temperature on its viscosity. American-Eurasian J Agric Environ Sci. 13(6), 807-819.
  5. Kenjeric D., Mandic M.L., Primorac L., Bubalo D., Perl A., 2007. Flavonoid profile of Robinia honeys produced in Croatia. Food Chem. 102(3), 683ââ‚‌“690.
  6. Montilla A., Ruiz-Matute A.I., Sanz M.L., Martinez-Castro I., Del Castillo M.D., 2006. Difructose anhydrides as quality markers of honey and coffee. Food Res Int. 39, 801ââ‚‌“806.
  7. Windsor S., Kavazos K., Brooks P., 2013. The quantitation of hydroxymethylfurfural in Australian Leptospermum honeys. J Pharmacognosy Phytother. 5(1), 21-25.
  8. Zirbes L., Nguyen B.K., Graaf D., Meulenaer B., Reybroeck W., 2013. Hydroxymethylfurfural: a possible emergent cause of honeybee mortality? J Agric Food Chem. 61(49), 11865-11870.
  9. Codex Alimentarius Standard, Revised Codex Standard for Honey, Rev.2, 24th Session of the Codex Alimentarius, 2001; CODEX ROME
  10. Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran, Honey- Specification and test methods. ISIRI. no 92. 7th revision, [In Persian].
  11. Tosi E., Martinet R., Ortega M., Lucero H., Re E., 2008. Honey diastase activity modified by heating. Food Chem. 106(3), 883ââ‚‌“887.
  12. Rotarescu R., Vidican C., 2010. Impactââ‚‌™s assessment of thermal processing and storage conditions on enzymatic activity and HMF content in honey. Carpathian J Food Sci Technol. 2(1), 1ââ‚‌“13.
  13. Cozmuta A.M., Cozmuta L.M., Varga C., Marian M., Peter A., 2011. Effect of thermal processing on quality of polyfloral honey. Romanian J Food Sci. 1(1), 45ââ‚‌“52.
  14. IHC. Harmonised Methods of the International Honey Commission. 2009. Available at http://www.bee-hexagon.net/en/network.htm.
  15. Zappala M., Fallico B., Arena E., Verzera A., 2005. Methods for the determination of HMF in honey: a comparison. Food Cont. 16(3), 273ââ‚‌“277.
  16. Khalil M.I., Sulaiman S.A., Gan S.H., 2010. High 5-hydroxymethylfurfural concentrations are found in Malaysian honey samples stored for more than one year. Food & Chem Toxicol. 48(8-9), 2388ââ‚‌“2392.
  17. Truzzi C., Annibaldi A., Illuminati S., Finale C., Rossetti M., Scarponi G., 2012. Determination of very low levels of 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furaldehyde (HMF) in natural honey: comparison between the HPLC technique and the spectrophotometric white method. J Food Sci. 77(7), 784-790.
  18. Finola M.S., Lasagno M.C., Marioli J.M., 2007. Microbiological and chemical characterization of honeys from central Argentina. Food Chem. 100(4), 1649ââ‚‌“1653.
  19. Saxena S., Gautam S., Sharma A., 2010. Physical, biochemical and antioxidant properties of some Indian honeys. Food Chem. 118(2). 391ââ‚‌“397.
  20. Gebremariam T., Brhane G., 2014. Determination of Quality and adulteration effects of honey from Adigrat and its surrounding areas. Int J Technol Emerg Engin Res. 2(10), 71-76.
  21. Marchini L.C., Moreti A.C.C., Otsuk I.P., 2007. Physicochemical composition of Apis Mellifera L. honey samples from São Paulo state, Brazil. Quim Nova. 30(7), 1653-1657.
  22. Ouchemoukh S., Louaileche H., Schweizer P., 2007. Physicochemical characteristics and pollen spectrum of some Algerian honey. Food Cont. 18(1), 52ââ‚‌“58.
  23. Al M.L., Daniel D., Moise A., Bobis O., Laslo L., Bogdanov S., 2009. Physicochemical and bioactive properties of different floral origin honeys from Romania. Food Chem. 112, 863ââ‚‌“867.
  24. Bradbear N., 2009. Bees and their role in forest livelihoods (monograph on the Internet). Rome, Italy. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).
  25. Perez-Arquillue C., Conchello R., Arino A., Juan T., Herrero A., 1994. Quality evaluation of Spanish rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) honey. Food Chem. 51(2), 207-210.
  26. Mendes E., Brojo Proença E., Ferreira IMPLVO., Ferreira M.A., 1998. Quality evaluation of Portuguese honey. Carbohydrate Polymers. 37(3), 219-223.
  27. Jimoh W.L.O., Ummi U.A., 2014. Chemical characteristic of selected importd and local honey sold around Kano Metropolice, Nigeria. Bayero J Pure Applied Sci. 7(2), 55-58.