Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 4531–4540 | Cite as

Content of metals and metabolites in honey originated from the vicinity of industrial town Košice (eastern Slovakia)

  • Jozef KováčikEmail author
  • Jiří Grúz
  • Ondřej Biba
  • Josef Hedbavny
Research Article


Composition of three types of honey (mixed forest honey and monofloral—black locust and rapeseed honeys) originated from the vicinity of an industrial town (Košice, Slovak Republic) was compared. Higher content of minerals including toxic metals in forest honey (1358.6 ng Ni/g, 85.6 ng Pb/g, and 52.4 ng Cd/g) than in rapeseed and black locust honeys confirmed that botanical origin rather than the distance for eventual source of pollution (steel factory) affects metal deposition. Benzoic acid derivatives were typically more accumulated in forest but cinnamic acid derivatives and some flavonoids in rapeseed honey (in free and/or glycoside-bound fraction). In terms of quantity, p-hydroxybenzoic and p-coumaric acids were mainly abundant. Total phenols, thiols, and proteins were abundant in forest honey. Some metals and phenols contributed to separation of honeys based on principal component analysis (PCA). Native amount of 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural was not related to honey type (~11 μg/g) and was elevated after strong acid hydrolysis (200–350 μg/g) but it did not interfere with the assay of phenols by Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. This is the first report of metals and metabolites in the same study, and data are discussed with available literature. We conclude that black locust (acacia) honey is the most suitable for daily use and that central European monofloral honeys contain lower amounts of toxic metals in comparison with other geographical regions.


Antioxidants Food safety Heavy metals Mass spectrometry 



JK, corresponding author of this paper born in Košice, dedicates this work to the memory of Ing. Michal Lovás (1937–2012) who provided honey samples used in the study. The work was financially supported by OP Education for Competitiveness CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0017 Postdocs in Biological Sciences at MENDELU (European Social Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic) and the program “Návrat” for Research, Development, and Innovations (LK21306) funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.

Disclosure statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Role of the funding source

Sponsors had no involvement in the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jozef Kováčik
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jiří Grúz
    • 2
  • Ondřej Biba
    • 2
  • Josef Hedbavny
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of AgronomyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Laboratory of Growth Regulators & Department of Chemical Biology and Genetics, Centre of the Region Hana for Biotechnological and Agricultural ResearchPalacky University & Institute of Experimental Botany ASCROlomoucCzech Republic

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