The Maltese Islands are renowned for the production of genuine honey from different floral sources depending on the season and the location of the apiary. Honey samples were collected directly from local beekeepers over a period of 4 years. Each sample was coded and the details provided by the beekeepers were recorded. A total of 259 samples were collected. The distribution of the apiaries was also considered for the three honey seasons: spring, summer and autumn. All samples were tested for the parameters according to the EU Directive on Honey (2001/110/EC) and the Harmonised Methods of the International Honey Commission (2009). The samples were analysed for consistency (by appearance), moisture content and Brix (by refractometry), colour index, diastase, proline and hydroxymethylfurfural (by spectrophotometry), pH and electrical conductivity (by pH/conductivity meters), salinity (chloride meter), free acidity (by titrimetry), polyphenols (by the Folin-Ciocalteu test), sugar content (high performance liquid chromatography), antioxidant activity (by DPPH and FRAP) and antimicrobial activity. The Maltese honey can be classified into three seasons with distinctive physicochemical characteristics. Honey originating from particular season showed significantly different values for specific parameters. Typically, high sucrose content is found in spring honey and a high conductivity in autumn honey.
Part of the book: Honey Analysis