Formal analyses are fundamental for the definition of honey, a product representing specific territories and their changes: the case of North Tyrrhenian dunes (Italy)

Leoni V., Panseri S., Giupponi L., Pavlovic R., Gianoncelli C., Sala S., Zeni V., Benelli G., Giorgi A.

Scientific Reports

Honey is a variegate matrix depending significantly on the floral origin, and it could become an important agri-food product to valorise specific territories. Being so diverse, different analytical techniques are necessary for its description. Herein we characterized the honey produced in one of the Italian sand dunes systems hosting beekeeping activities. In terms of floristic origin, phytochemical characterization, and sensory and colour analysis, honey collected in 2021 and 2022 was comparable. Honey was polyfloral, with several pollens from dune habitat plants classified as minor. The presence of the allochthonous Amorpha fruticosa L. and the ruderal Rubus fruticosus L. pollens in the category of the secondary pollens testifies the alteration of the park vegetation. The phytochemical profile was rich in polyphenols. Other interesting compounds were coumarine derivatives, likely attributable to resin-laden plants as rockroses, long chain hydroxyacids typical of royal jelly and nicotinic acid and its analogues (2-hydroxynicotinic acid and 2-hydroxyquinoline). The above-mentioned honey showed interesting features and was a good representation of the vegetation of this area. Our study pointed out the importance of relying on multiple analytical techniques for the characterization of honey and the advisability of a technical support toward beekeepers to correctly describe and valorise their product.

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