Comparison of Honey Quality of Kangra and Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh

Academic Paper, 2015

59 Pages



List of Tables

List of Figures



Physico-chemical properties of Honey

3.1 Sampling of Honey samples
3.2 Physico-chemical Characteristics of Honey samples & their Analysis.




List of Tables

1. pH of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

2. Electrical conductivity of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

3. Acidity of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

4. Moisture content of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

5. Specific gravity of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

6. Total soluble solid of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

7. Total Ash of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

8. Reducing sugar of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

9. Total sugar of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

10. Non-reducing sugar of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

11. Total pollen count of honey sample collected from different region of distt. Kangra & Bilaspur of H.P.

List of Figures

1 Picture showing samples of Honey obtained from Kangra & Bilaspur districts of H.P.

2 Estimation of pH of Honey samples in the Laboratory.

3 Estimation of Electrical conductivity of honey samples in the Laboratory.

4 Estimation of Ash content of honey samples in the Laboratory

5 Estimation of Carbohydrate of honey samples in the Laboratory

6 Comparative study of Physico-chemical parameters (pH, Moisture, TDS, Reducing sugar, Total sugar & Non- Reducing Sugar) of Honey samples.

7 Comparative study of Physico-chemical parameters (Electrical conductivity, Acidity, Ash & Specific gravity) of Honey samples.


Honey is the sweet, sticky food substance that bees make from nectar of flowers. Honey is used not only as a nutritional product but also in health described in traditional medicine and as an alternative treatment for clinical conditions ranging from wound healing to cancer treatment.

Honey samples were obtained from Bilaspur & Kangra Disricts of Himachal Pradesh & analyzed for some physico-chemical properties such as pH, Electrical conductivity, Acidity, Moisture, Specific gravity, Total soluble solid, Ash, Sugar, Total pollen count. The results obtained can be summarized as follow: pH (4.5-4.8), Electrical conductivity (0.2-0.4), Acidity (0.092-0.184), Moisture content (7.0-12.0), Specific gravity (1.39- 1.42), Total soluble Solids (87.0-93.0), Ash (0.20-0.40), Sugar (Reducing sugar-73.73- 77.20), (Total sugar- 78.03-78.46), (Non- reducing sugar- 0.03-4.73), Total pollen count (19,966.66-27,766.14).It can be summarized at the end of study that the values for various parameters varied in different range. This might be due to the availability of diverse type of bee flora, varying processing methods & storage etc. The study may prove fruitful in quality evaluation of honey at commercial scale.


Honey is the sweet, sticky food substance that bees make from nectar of flowers. It is a natural product, procured from honey bee colonies. Codex Alimentarius Commission defined honey as the natural sweet substance produced by Honey bees, from the nectar of plants. Honey bees collect the nectar from nectarines of flower or from the secretion of living parts of plants or from excretion of plant sucking insects when live on plants, transform by combining with specific substances of their own, dehydrate, store and leave in the honey comb to ripen and mature. The bees are said to produce honey in order to serve as their source of food in times of scarcity or during harsh weather conditions.

The major constituents of honey are nearly the same in all honey samples, the precise chemical composition and physical properties of natural honey is differ according to the plant species on which the bees forages. Honey is a sweet viscous product made by bees after ingesting the nectar of flowers. It comprises mainly carbohydrates, fructose and glucose which together makeup nearly 70%,followed by about 20% water, and small amounts of an array of substances such as sucrose (0-2%), traces of heavy metals, proteins (0.1-0.4%), ascorbic acid, flavonoids, enzymes, vitamins etc.

There is more fructose (38%) than glucose (31%) in honey, while sucrose which is dominant in sugarcane, is found in honey only in trace amounts (Legesse, 2013).It has high refractive index (about 1.5) and high viscosity as compare to water. Its specific gravity is also 1.4, a characteristic of honey that can be used in quality control. Its color varies from light brown to dark depending on the nectar the bees feed on. Honey is quite acidic with average pH of 4. Honey is sweet and flavorful natural product which is consumed for its high nutritive value and for its effect on human health, with antioxidant, bacteriostatic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It represents the source of natural macro-micronutrients, consisting of a saturated solution of sugar of which fructose and glucose are the main contributors, but also a wide range of minor constituents, especially phenolic compounds. Seasonal and environmental factors can also influence its composition and its biological effects.

Honeybees are eusocial hymenopterans which are reliant on floral wealth like nectar and pollen. Since time immorial; honey and milk are considered as symbol of sancity and prosperity. It is also mentioned as “Amrit” in Vedas. In India even the firs food being given to neonatal is drop of honey. Honey is sweet in taste and used not only in foods and beverages as a sweetner and flavoring, but also used to treat variety of ailments such as in the treatment of burns, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory illnesses, infected and chronic wounds, skin ulcers and cancer. It is also used in various beauty products and Ayurvedic therapies.

India is the second largest honey producer and exporter in the world, plays an important role in world honey production and trade. The total production of honey in India is approx. 27000MT per year and the maximum production of honey in India comes from the forests.

In Himachal Pradesh the total honey production is about 120MT per year. Honey has been used by man in various ways since times immemorial. It contains more than so different substances but 95-99.5% of the total solids and sugars. The color, aroma, flavor, texture are the important quality characteristics of honey. Besides this, honey is prized for variety of enzymes, minerals and other health promoting constituents. Honey is widely used in the formation of certain drugs and cosmetics, as antiseptic and for other therapeutic values (Crane, 1975). The standardization of honey is off great significance from both beekeeper as well as consumers point of view to get proper remuneration. Such standardization of quality would also attract foreign market for Indian honey. Himachal Pradesh has a diversity of bee flora and varied agro- climatic conditions due to which this state has vast potentialities for profitable beekeeping and a lot of money is being produced in this state.

Because of the importance of good quality honey, the current study was planned to investigate the following objectives.

(i) Physico-chemical analysis of honey
(ii) Statistical analysis of honey sample for further validation.

Review of Literature

Honey is natural diet and contains natural antioxidant properties that can destroy biologically destructive chemical agents which have been linked to many diseases such as cancer. Honey contains a variety of phytochemicals (as well as other substances such as organic acids, vitamins and enzymes) that may serve as sources of dietary antioxidants. The amount and type of these antioxidant compounds depend largely upon the floral source / variety of the honey. In general, darker honeys have higher antioxidant content than lighter honeys. Because of the large variety of pathologies that have been related to reactive oxygen species (ROS), it is quite important to find new antioxidants that could inhibit or prevent the effects of ROS. Consumption of honey increases the antioxidant activity of human plasma. The antioxidant capacity of honey is comparable to that of uric acid, a potent, antioxidant found in living systems. Honey has long been documented as having medicinal properties and its uses as a wound dressing and an antiseptic have been recorded since ancient times. The earliest written records of honey used as medicine is in Egyptian papyri and Sumerian clay tablets dated from 1900 to 1250 BC and in one of these, honey was used in 30% of the prescriptions. Ancient Egyptians also used honey in embalming. They made salves with it for treating diseases of the eyes and skin (Al Waili, 2003).

Hippocrates (460-357 BC) found that honey cleaned sores and ulcers of the lips and healed buncles and running sores. As well, the healing properties of honey were mentioned in the Holy Quran 1400 years ago (Al Waili, 2003). Honey has continued to be used in folk medicine ever since, with mention of its use in the middle Ages reported by Daude de Pradas in approximately 1200 AD. Similarly, honey has been documented as being used as a remedial agent throughout Europe, as well as through areas of Arabia and China. Generally, honey has been used as a remedy for gastric and intestinal complaints, although the sedative and soporific powers of honey have also been mentioned. In addition, the diuretic effect of honey has been recorded, and it has been a favored remedy for kidney inflammations and stones. Attic honey, in particular, was thought to have special curative powers for eye disorders, and honey in general, has been documented as having being used for the treatment of skin diseases and smallpox, as well as in surgical dressings. The Hindu people also had great faith in the medical virtues of honey, using it mainly for coughs, pulmonary issues and gastric disorders. Similarly, populations in rural communities from almost al, l nations have documented the use of honey through time. German women specifically believed that a mixture of honey and crushed bees would have a beautifying and strengthening effect, and it would regulate menstrual flow. In more recent times, honey has played a relatively minor role in medicine, mostly due to it not being accepted by western practitioners in a world where antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals are seen as the remedies of choice.

Among the Chinese, Hindu, Arabic and African races, however, honey is still considered to be a valuable internal and external remedy. Slowly the use of honey in western medicine is gaining recognition; particularly as scientific evidence continues to be produced demonstrating its efficacy, often in situations where more usual remedies are ineffective. The antibacterial properties of honey and its wound-healing capabilities, in particular, have gained recognition in the last 10-15years, although only now are researchers substantial beginning to understand the processes by which this occurs. People have started beginning to understand that honey may indeed be the elixir that the ancient people believed, as research is showing a number of health -related benefits, including a laxative effect, beneficial effects on blood glucose levels, anti-inflammatory and immune stimulating properties and potentially a cancer-preventive action. Relative to other foods the anti-oxidant activity of honey is quite high. However, the quantity of honey consumed in the diet when it is used as a spread on bread is low compared with the quantity of many other food sources of anti-oxidants. But if, honey is used instead of refined sugar as sweetner for food and drinks it can make a substantial difference to the quantity of anti-oxidants consumed in the diet, because the typical diet contains a lot of refined sugar and this contains no anti-oxidants.

Honey is most commonly consumed in its unprocessed state (i.e., liquid, crystallized, or in the comb). However, the antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal properties of honey offer scope for applications in food technology. One special advantage is that, unlike some conventional preservatives, and a honey is an entirely natural product, it has a generally beneficial effect on human health. Honey, a high- energy carbohydrate food, is one of the last untreated natural foods; most of honey sold for food is used directly as table sweetner or spread. The amount of honey used for food far outweighs any of the miscellaneous nonfood uses that have been described in the technical and popular literature. For a long time in human history, it was the only known sweetner, until industrial sugar production began to replace it after 1800. Today, a large variety of packaging and semi processed and pure honey products are marketed. Honey as a food ingredient deserves serious consideration, with its combination of interesting physical properties, flavor and connotation of old-fashioned goodness. Honey is largely used on a small scale as well as at an industrial level: in bakery, confectionery, breakfast cereals, dairy, dressings and sauces, frozen foods, meats, snack bars (candy bars), spreads, ice creams, industrial nonalcoholic beverages, marmalades and jams, and many preserved products. The antibacterial effect of honey counteracts microbial spoilage of food (e.g., meat), while honey enhances the growth of diary starter cultures in milk and milk products, especially species with weak growth rates in milk, such as biidobacteria (Bf- 1 and Bf-6). In addition, honey can be used as a prebiotic additive to probiotic milk products. Due to its antioxidant properties, honey prevents oxidation of food during storage and thus acts against lipid oxidation of meat. The addition of honey to patties seems to prevent formation of heterocyclic aromatic amine and overall mutagenicity in fried ground-beef patties. Effects of honey against enzymatic browning of fruits and vegetables and soft drinks have been reported. Other physical and sensory properties make honey a good candidate for an additive to a wide variety of food: breads, cakes, spread yeast-raised sweet goods, cookies and other foods stated above. All are improved by honey. The use of honey in medicine is a therapeutic natural product has been re- evaluated in a more scientific setting. The largest nonfood use of honey is in pharmaceuticals. Thus, several pharmaceutical preparations have honey as a useful adjunct. It has long been recommended in infant feeding because it does not produce acidosis, its raid absorption prevents it from undergoing alcoholic fermentation, its free acids favor the absorption of fats, it complements the iron deficiency in human and cow‟s milk, it increases appetite and peristalsis, and it has a soothing effect that reduces fretfulness. These attributes of honey have been varied by subsequent investigators in tests using honey in feeding children of various ages and found special values for honey compared with other sugars. Included in the observed benefits were an increase in the haemoglobin content of the blood, better skin color, relief from constipation, a decrease in diarrhea and vomiting, more rapid increase in blood sugars than after sucrose administration, better weight gains when honey was submitted for dextromaltose after faculty nutrition, and good honey tolerance with infants suffering from rickets, inflammation of the intestine, malnourishment and prematurity. With this amount of definite evidence in the case of infants and children, there seems to be plenty of reasons for including honey, not only in the diets of infants and children, but also in the diets of adults as well and particularly those who are undergoing vigorous exercise under exacting conditions.

Physico-chemical analysis of honey provides information regarding the various physical and chemical characteristics which are governed by its major and minor constituents. These characteristics are of great economic importance in the honey industry as they are essential for storage and marketing purposes. A lot of work has been done on the physico-chemical characteristics of honey in Europe. But a very scanty work is known about the physic-chemical characteristics of Asian honeys especially in India. However, scanning of the literature pertaining to the physico-chemical characteristics, sensory evaluation of honey and pesticides residues in honey is presented as follow-

Physico-chemical properties:-

The pH of honey affects the activity of enzymes that might change the flavor and aroma of honey after fermentation. White et al., (1962) reported an average pH value of 3.91 and range of (3.42-6.10) for American honey samples. However, during storage of 6 Australian honeys at 50⁰C for 44 days, 2 honeys showed a considerable decrease in ph and 4 showed comparatively small changes (Wootton et al., 1976. pH ranging between 3.2 and 4.5 according to Association of Official Analytical chemists (1990). The pH values of Algerian, Brazilian, Spanish, Turkish and Indian honeys have been found to vary between 3.49 to 4.53, 3.10 to 4.05, 3.63 to 5.01, 3.67 to 4.57 and 4.43, respectively (Azeredo et al., 2003); Ouchemoukh e t al., 2007). Agbagwa et al., 2011 analyzed pH of honey in Nigeria & reported that the pH of honey ranged between 3to10. pH of honey samples was recorded to be less than 4.5 by Salim et al., 2011.

There is a linear relationship between the ash content and electrical conductivity (Piazza et al., 1991). The electrical conductivity of a honey solution is measured by EUTECH instrument conductimeter and analyze the electrical conductivity was less 10-4 S∕cm (Salim et al., 2011). The electrical conductivity as measured in most honeys is less than 700 µS∕cm and in some samples conductivity is high approx. 1050.5 µS ∕cm. (Terrab et al., 2003).

Kaushik et al., (1993) reported that honey contained 0.25% acidity. Singh (1994) determined the acidity of five different floral sources in Punjab and reported values of acidity of five different floral sources in Punjab and reported values of acidity in the range of 0.55-0.12%. According to Bogdanov et al., (2000) the acidity in honey was 0.005%. Anupama et al., (2003) determined the acidity of 11 commercial samples of honey and recorded acidity values in the range of 0.03-0.15%.

The moisture content of honey is an important factor contributing to its stability against fermentation and granulation during storage. Moisture content was affected by climate, season and moisture content of original plant nectar. Honey moisture is the quality criterion that determines the capability of honey to remain stable and to resist spoilage by yeast fermentation: the higher the moisture, the higher the probability that honey will ferment upon storage.

White et al., (1962) reported that the moisture content in honey is the most important characteristics, having profound influence on honey quality. Phadke (1967) reported 20.90 percent average moisture content in 80 honey samples from India Specific gravity is an important physical characteristic of honey. Deans (1953) reported histogram for 89 samples of English and Scottish honey, including ling heather (Calluna vulgaris) for 1951 showed that the model class had a specific gravity (at 60⁰F) between 1.411 to 1.420 the mean was given as 1.415 and 115 samples of English, Scottish and Irish honeys showed that the model class had a mean specific gravity of 1.416. U.S grade „A‟ honey must have a specific gravity of 1.4155 and U.S standard honey a specific gravity of 1.406; the British National mark scheme only covered honey of specific gravity, at least 1.415 (all at 60⁰F).There were highly significant differences in specific gravity between exported honey during May-July and honey exported during November and December (after monsoon season).

Ibrahim et al., (1977) studied that the major Egyptian honeys and found that clover honey had the lowest total soluble solids and oasis honey had the highest. Kaushik (1988) analyzed fresh Himachal honey and reported 81.5 percent average total soluble solids. Hussein (1989) recorded that the total soluble solids range from 76 to 83 percent in a study of total 153 samples. He observed highly significant difference in total soluble solids of extracted honey during May-July and honey extracted during November and December after monsoon season.


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Comparison of Honey Quality of Kangra and Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh
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comparison, honey, quality, kangra, bilaspur, district, himachal, pradesh
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Rajesh Kumar (Author), 2015, Comparison of Honey Quality of Kangra and Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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