European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 244, Issue 8, pp 1439–1445 | Cite as

Macro-element ratios provide improved identification of the botanical origin of mono-floral honeys

  • Nikolett CzipaEmail author
  • Loránd Alexa
  • Clive J. C. Phillips
  • Béla Kovács
Original Paper


Major macronutrient concentrations (K, Ca, Mg, Na, P, and S) and element ratios were determined in 140 Hungarian mono-floral honey samples (acacia, linden, sunflower, rape, chestnut, forest, silk grass, and facelia) by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). One-way ANOVA (LSD and Dunnett T3 test) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) were used to determine the botanical origin based on the element content and element ratio of different honey types. Analysing six element concentrations in the honeys of different botanical origin with LDA allowed the botanical origin of 96% of honeys to be predicted. Reducing the examined elements to K, Mg, and Na increased the accuracy of predictions, but it was still not possible to distinguish acacia and facelia honeys. However, examination of element ratios showed that K/Na and K/Mg ratios were able to separate every honey type from each other with 100% cross-validation. It is concluded that using macro-element ratios rather than macro-element concentrations, it is possible to precisely discriminate the floral origin of honey samples.


Honey Element Element ratio ICP Botanical origin 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics requirements

There has not been any research involving human or animal participants performed.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolett Czipa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Loránd Alexa
    • 1
  • Clive J. C. Phillips
    • 2
  • Béla Kovács
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and Environmental Management, Institute of Food ScienceUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary
  2. 2.School of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of QueenslandGattonAustralia

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