Metals are pollutant residues detectable in honey and in fact account for most of the inorganic pollutants found in this food product. Metal pollutants can be accumulated through the food chain and, at levels exceeding safe thresholds, can be toxic to humans and even damage physiological functions. During the honey-making process, bees can transport pollutants to the beehive following contact with polluted botanic species or from drinking contaminated water. Detecting very low concentrations is a persisting challenge to accurately measure these elements in honey. Additionally, since honey is a complex organic matrix, treatments are needed prior to applying any classical chemical methods for metal determination, such as inductively coupled plasma and atomic absorption spectroscopy. Therefore, optimal results are dependent on adequate sample conditioning prior to heavy metal content analyses. Chemical pretreatments include calcination processes and/or acid digestion. Regarding execution, the last steps of any metal detection methodology are the primary determinants of result quality, where any loss of mass is reflected by unreliable values.
Part of the book: Honey Analysis
Honeybees (Apis mellifera) crucially pollinate agricultural crops and endemic species, in addition to producing various apiculture products. The most economically relevant and abundant beehive product is honey, a sweet substance made from the secretions of melliferous plants. Honey is a natural food rich in nutrients, including certain bioactive compounds inherited from floral nectar and pollen. Among the most dangerous diseases for bees is American foulbrood. Spores of the causative microorganism, Paenibacillus larvae, can contaminate larvae food or the operculum wax in which larval stages of honeybees are kept. Infection is further promoted by common apiculture practices, such as reusing inert material contaminated with spores, even after months of storage. American foulbrood is untreatable, and management implicates completely incinerating the infected hive and all material that could have come into contact with pathogenic spores. The purpose of such drastic measures is to decrease propagation risk for other beehives. While evidence indicates that antibiotics could effectively control and combat this disease; antibiotic use is prohibited in most honey-producing countries due to increased risks to microbial resistance. Antibiotic residues in honey can affect consumer health, since the natural biological attributes of honey can be altered.
Part of the book: Modern Beekeeping