European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 242, Issue 2, pp 171–178 | Cite as

Mineral and volatile composition of água-mel from Portugal

  • Maria Graça MiguelEmail author
  • Smail Aazza
  • Maria Dulce Antunes
  • Maria Leonor Faleiro
  • José G. Barroso
  • Luis G. Pedro
  • A. Cristina Figueiredo
Original Paper


Água-mel (honey–water) is a typical honey-based product produced by the Portuguese beekeepers, particularly in southern Portugal. Água-mel was characterized by mineral content and volatiles contents. Mineral content evaluation was performed based on a random sampling of 14 samples from a total of 16 samples provided by local producers. Mineral content showed that potassium predominated in água-mel samples (1270–4105 mg/kg). The concentration of aluminium in one sample was tenfold higher (5.8 mg/kg) than in the remaining samples (0.3–0.6 mg/kg). Água-mel volatiles were isolated by hydrodistillation and analysed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) from a subset of eight samples. Cluster analysis showed two poorly correlated clusters (S corr < 0.3). Cluster I only sample was dominated by trans-β-ocimene (19 %), γ-terpinene (15 %) and 2-furfural (9 %). Cluster II that included the remaining seven samples showed two moderately correlated subclusters (S corr < 0.5). The six samples with high correlation from subcluster IIa were dominated by 2-furfural (18–41 %) and benzene acetaldehyde (12–39 %). n-Nonadecane (14 %), n-heneicosane and 2-furfural (both 13 %) were the main components of subcluster IIb sample. Although the presence of some volatile compounds can help in the correlation between água-mel and honey botanical source, the final product varies largely according to the preparation process even for the same producer, in different years. Água-mel detailed characterization may assist in bringing added value to this typical Portuguese honey-based product.


Portugal Água-mel Honey Mineral composition Volatiles 



Gas chromatography


Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry



This study was partially funded by Ministério da Agricultura, Mar, Ambiente e Ordenamento do Território (Portugal) under research contract Programa Apícola Nacional 2011–2013, Medida 6A, and by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), under Pest–OE/EQB/LA0023/2011 and UID/AMB/50017/2013.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Compliance with Ethics Requirements

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


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Graça Miguel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Smail Aazza
    • 1
  • Maria Dulce Antunes
    • 1
  • Maria Leonor Faleiro
    • 2
  • José G. Barroso
    • 3
  • Luis G. Pedro
    • 3
  • A. Cristina Figueiredo
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Química e Farmácia, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaCBMRFaroPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências, 1749 016 Lisboa, Portugal.Universidade de Lisboa, CBV, DBVLisbonPortugal

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