Botanical influence on phenolic profile and antioxidant level of Italian honeys
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Honeybees directly transfer plant compounds from nectar into honey. Each plant species possesses a specific metabolic profile, the amount and the typology of plant molecules that may be detected in honey vary according to their botanical origin. Aim of the present work was the spectrophotometrical determination of concentration ranges of simple phenols and flavonoids in 460 several Italian monofloral honeys, in order to individuate specific intervals of plant metabolites for each typology of honey. Moreover, an LC–MS analysis was performed to determine amount of various secondary metabolites in the samples, with the purpose to use them as potential molecular markers in support to honey melissopalynological classification. As plant molecules have a strong reducing power, the antioxidant activity of the honeys was evaluated by two antiradical assays, DPPH and FRAP. The free radical scavenging effect of each monofloral group was correlated to the concentration of simple phenols and flavonoids, with the aim to deduce the existence of possible relationships between these parameters. In conclusion, dark honeys (Castanea sativa, honeydew, Erica sp. and Eucalyptus sp.) appeared to be the richest in secondary metabolites and, consequently, showed higher antioxidant activity. However, all analyzed monofloral honeys showed to be good sources of antioxidants.
KeywordsSecondary metabolites Monofloral honeys DPPH FRAP LC–MS
The present research was funded by Regione Lazio through FILAS-RU-2014-1122 project (SMART CAMPUS PROGRAM, “Analisi qualità delle materie prime, origine e verifica di contaminazione di alimenti vegetali”, code F1-2016-0069, CUP: E82I15000980002), and by Italian Beekeepers’ Federation (FAI) through MIPAAF FAI-LIGUSTICA program (AZIONE MELITAPIS). The authors also thank Dr. Simona Iacobelli and Dr. Giulia Sbianchi for their assistance in statistical analysis. The authors state no conflict of interest about the present work.
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