European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 245, Issue 1, pp 23–39 | Cite as

Volatile fingerprints of common and rare honeys produced in Greece: in search of PHVMs with implementation of the honey code

  • Ioannis K. KarabagiasEmail author
  • Christos Nikolaou
  • Vassilios K. Karabagias
Original Paper


A non-targeted metabolomic methodology using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry in combination with headspace solid-phase microextraction was applied for the identification of pharmaceutical honey volatile metabolites. Common and rare honeys (citrus, fir, honeydew, pine, thyme, asfaka, arbutus, chestnut, and cotton), in a total of 32 samples, were collected from different regions in Greece. Seventy-three volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were identified and semi-quantified using the internal standard method. Among volatiles, the norisoprenoid 3,4,6,6-tetramethylbicyclo[3.2.1]oct-3-ene-2,8-dione, was identified for the first time to contribute to Greek honey aroma. Pharmaceutical VOCs of interest included: terpenes, norisoprenoids benzene derivatives/phenolic volatiles and other compounds. The content of such metabolites was affected by honey’s botanical origin (p < 0.05). The honey code was developed to construe differences among honey varieties with respect to semi-quantitative data of pharmaceutical volatile metabolites. The exploitation of natural organic compounds for the treatment of diseases is of great value.

Graphical abstract


Rare honeys Metabolomics HS-SPME/GC-MS Medicinal volatiles Chemometrics 



The authors would like to thank local beekeepers and Rhodes and Thassos Beekeeping Associations for the donation of honey samples. Prof. M.G. Kontominas, who provided access to the Laboratory of Food Chemistry at Chemistry Department of University of Ioannina, is greatly acknowledged.


The present study was not funded.

Compliance with ethical standards

Human and animal rights statement

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Conflict of interest

The authors need funding to expand present research philosophy at an international level.

Supplementary material

217_2018_3137_MOESM1_ESM.docx (210 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 210 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ioannis K. Karabagias
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christos Nikolaou
    • 1
  • Vassilios K. Karabagias
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Industrial and Food Chemistry, Laboratory of Food Chemistry, Department of ChemistryUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece

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