Honey is a candy, viscous food substance made by using bees and a few associated bugs. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of flora (floral nectar) or from secretions of other insects (together with honeydew), by means of regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and water evaporation.
Bees shop honey in wax structures known as honeycombs. The sort of honey produced with the aid of honey bees (the genus Apis) is the best-acknowledged, due to its global commercial manufacturing and human consumption. Honey is accrued from wild bee colonies, or from hives of domesticated bees, an exercise referred to as beekeeping or apiculture.
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose and has approximately equal relative sweetness as sucrose (desk sugar). It has attractive chemical houses for baking and an exclusive taste when used as a sweetener. Most microorganisms do not develop in honey, so sealed honey does now not spoil, even after heaps of years.
One tablespoonful (15 ml) of honey presents46energy (kcal) of strength. Honey is appeared as secure whilst now not taken in immoderate quantities.
Honey use and manufacturing have a protracted and varied history as a historical pastime. Several cave artwork in Cuevas de l. A. Araña in Spain depicts human beings foraging for honey at least 8,000 years ago.
Benefit of Honey
Wounds and burns
Honey is a famous folk treatment for burns and different skin injuries. Preliminary evidence shows that it aids inside the restoration of partial-thickness burns 4–five days faster than different dressings, and slight evidence shows that post-operative infections dealt with honey heal faster and with fewer adverse events than with antiseptic and gauze.
The proof for using honey in various different wound treatments is of low first-rate, and organization conclusions cannot be drawn. Evidence does now not help the usage of honey-based totally products for the treatment of venous stasis ulcers or ingrown toenail.
Components of honey below preliminary research for their potential antibacterial residences include methylglyoxal, hydrogen peroxide, and royalisin (additionally known as defensin-1).
For continual and acute coughs, a Cochrane review found no strong evidence for or against the use of honey.For treating children, the systematic evaluation concluded with slight to low proof that honey likely enables greater than no remedy, diphenhydramine, and placebo at giving comfort from coughing. Honey does now not appear to paintings better than dextromethorphan at relieving coughing in children.
The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency recommends warding off giving over the counter cough and not unusual cold medicinal drug to kids underneath six and suggests “a homemade treatment containing honey and lemon is probably to be just as useful and more secure to take”, however, warns that honey ought to no longer take delivery of to infants because of the chance of toddler botulism.
The World Health Organization recommends honey as a remedy for coughs and sore throats, which include for kids, pointing out that no motive exists to believe it is much less powerful than a commercial treatment. Honey is recommended by way of one Canadian health practitioner for kids over the age of one for the remedy of coughs, as it’s far deemed as effective as dextromethorphan and more effective than diphenhydramine.
The use of honey has been encouraged as a transient intervention for known or suspected button mobile battery ingestions to lessen the threat and severity of injury to the esophagus because of the battery prior to its removal.
There is not any proof that honey is useful for treating cancer, despite the fact that honey can be beneficial for controlling facet results of radiation therapy or chemotherapy used to deal with cancer.
Consumption is occasionally endorsed as a remedy for seasonal allergies because of pollen, however scientific evidence to support the declare is inconclusive. Honey is normally considered ineffective for the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis.
Although the majority of energy in honey is from fructose, honey does no longer reason improved weight benefit and fructose by way of itself isn’t an independent factor for weight benefit.
In Islam, an entire chapter (Surah) in the Qur’an is called an-Nahl (the Bees). According to his teachings (hadith), Muhammad strongly recommended honey for healing purposes. The Qur’an promotes honey as nutritious and healthy food, saying:
And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought [Al-Quran 16:68–69]
A honey bee on calyx of goldenrod with its proboscis extended
The bee emits a large amount of body warmness, especially where the wings attach.
Honey is produced by using bees accumulating nectar for use as sugars ate up to guide metabolism of muscle pastime in the course of foraging or to be saved as a protracted-time period food supply. During foraging, bees get right of entry toa part of the nectar accumulated to help metabolic hobby of flight muscles, with the majority of accumulated nectar destined for regurgitation, digestion, and garage as honey. In bloodless weather or whilst different food assets are scarce, grownup and larval bees use saved honey as food.
By contriving for bee swarms to nest in human-made hives, people had been capable of semi domesticate the bugs and harvest excess honey. In the hive or in a wild nest, the three varieties of bees are:
an unmarried female queen bee
a seasonally variable variety of male drone bees to fertilize new queens
20,000 to forty,000 lady worker bees
Leaving the hive, a foraging bee collects sugar-wealthy flower nectar, sucking it through its proboscis and putting it in its proventriculus (honey belly or crop), which lies simply dorsal to its food belly. The honey stomach holds approximately40 mg of nectar or roughly 50% of the bee’s unloaded weight, which may require over a thousand plants and extra than an hour to fill. The nectar normally starts with a water content of 70 to 80%. Salivary enzymes and proteins from the bee’s hypopharyngeal gland are added to the nectar to begin breaking down the sugars, elevating the water content slightly. The forager bees then go back to the hive, in which they regurgitate and switch nectar to the hive bees. The hive bees then use their honey stomachs to ingest and regurgitate the nectar, forming bubbles among their mandibles repeatedly till it’s far partly digested. The bubbles create a massive surface vicinity consistent with volume and a portion of the water is eliminated via evaporation. Bee digestive enzymes hydrolyze sucrose to a mixture of glucose and fructose and break down other starches and proteins, growing the acidity.
The bees work together as a collection with the regurgitation and digestion for as long as 20 minutes, passing the nectar from one bee to the next, until the product reaches the honeycombs in garage satisfactory. It is then positioned in honeycomb cells and left unsealed even as still excessive in water content material (approximately 50 to 70%) and herbal yeasts which, unchecked, would cause the sugars inside the newly formed honey to ferment. Bees are some of the few bugs that may generate big quantities of body warmness, and the hive bees constantly modify the hive temperature, both heating with their bodies or cooling with water evaporation, to preserve a reasonably consistent temperature of approximately 35 °C (95 °F) inside the honey-garage areas. The manner continues as hive bees flutter their wings continuously to flow into air and evaporate water from the honey to a content around 18%, raising the sugar attention past the saturation point and stopping fermentation The bees then cap the cells with wax to seal them. As eliminated from the hive by means of a beekeeper, honey has long shelf lifestyles and will no longer ferment if well sealed.
A wide variety of wasp species which include Brachygastra lecheguana and Brachygastra mellifica, which can be discovered in South and Central America, are recognized to feed on nectar and convey honey.
Some wasps, which include Polistes versicolor, consume honey, alternating among feeding on pollen within the middle in their lifecycles and feeding on honey, which can higher offer for their electricity needs.
Collection of Honey
Extraction from a honeycomb
Filtering from a honeycomb
Honey is collected from wild bee colonies or from domesticated beehives. On average, a hive will produce about65 pounds (29 kg) of honey per yr. Wild bee nests are occasionally placed by way of following a honeyguide bird.
To safely collect honey from a hive, beekeepers commonly pacify the bees using a bee smoker. The smoke triggers a feeding instinct (a try to save the assets of the hive from a possible fire), making them much less aggressive, and obscures the pheromones the bees use to communicate.
The honeycomb is eliminated from the hive and the honey can be extracted from it both through crushing or by using the usage of a honey extractor. The honey is then normally filtered to take away beeswax and other debris.
Before the invention of removable frames, bee colonies have been often sacrificed to conduct the harvest. The harvester might take all of that to be had honey and replace the complete colony the subsequent spring.
Since the discovery of removable frames, the concepts of husbandry led maximum beekeepers to make sure that their bees have enough stores to survive the winter, both via leaving a few honey within the beehive or by using providing the colony with a honey substitute along with sugar water or crystalline sugar (regularly inside the shape of a “candy board”). The quantity of meals vital to live on the winter relies upon on the form of bees and at the period and severity of local winters.
Many animal species are interested in wild or domestic assets of honey.
Because of its composition and chemical properties, honey is suitable for long-time period storage and is effortlessly assimilated even after along renovation. Honey, and gadgets immersed in honey, had been preserved for centuries. The key to renovation is limiting get entry to humidity.
In its cured state, honey has a sufficiently high sugar content to inhibit fermentation. If uncovered to moist air, its hydrophilic homes pull moisture into the honey, sooner or later diluting it to the factor that fermentation can begin.
Long shelf lifestyles of honey is attributed to an enzyme found within the belly of bees. The bees mix glucose oxidase with expelled nectar they previously ate up, which then creates two byproducts: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide, in part accountable for honey’s acidity and capability to suppress bacterial increase.
Honey is sometimes adulterated through the addition of different sugars, syrups, or compounds to exchange its taste or viscosity, lessen cost, or grow the fructose content material to stave off crystallization. The practice became commonplace dating back to historical instances, whilst honey was occasionally blended with plant syrups including maple, birch, or sorghum and sold to clients as natural honey.
Sometimes crystallized honey changed into combined with flour or other fillers, hiding the adulteration from buyers until the honey changed into liquefied. In current times the most not unusual adulterant became clean, nearly-flavorless corn syrup; the adulterated mixture may be very hard to distinguish from pure honey.
Isotope ratio mass spectrometry can be used to hit upon the addition of corn syrup and cane sugar by means of the carbon isotopic signature.
Addition of sugars originating from corn or sugar cane (C4 vegetation, not like the plant life utilized by bees, and additionally sugar beet, which is predominantly C3 vegetation) skews the isotopic ratio of sugars present in honey but does now not have an effect on the isotopic ratio of proteins. In unadulterated honey, the carbon isotopic ratios of sugars and proteins must match. Levels as little as 7% of addition may be detected.
Production of natural honey – 2017
In 2017 global manufacturing of honey became 1.9 million tonnes, led via China with 29% of the arena total (desk). Other principal manufacturers have been Turkey, Iran, United States, and Ukraine.
Over its records as a food, the principle uses of honey are in cooking, baking, desserts, as a range of bread, as an addition to diverse beverages along with tea, and as a sweetener in some commercial drinks.
Physical and chemical houses
Crystallized honey: The inset suggests a close-up of the honey, showing the character glucose grains within the fructose mixture.
The physicalproperties of honey vary, relying on water content, the kind offlowers used to provide it (pasturage), temperature, and the share of the specific sugars it consists of. Fresh honey is a supersaturated liquid, containing greater sugar than the water can usually dissolve at ambient temperatures.
At room temperature, honey is a supercooled liquid, wherein the glucose precipitates into solid granules. This forms a semisolid answer of triggered glucose crystals in an answer of fructose and different components.
The density of honey usually degrees between 1.38 and 1.45 kg/l at 20 °C .
The melting factor of crystallized honey is between40 and 50 °C (104 and 122 °F), relying on its composition. Below this temperature, honey may be either in a metastable country, which means that it will no longer crystallize until a seed crystal is introduced or, greater frequently, it’s miles in a “labile” nation, being saturated with enough sugars to crystallize spontaneously. The charge of crystallization is stricken by many factors, however, the primary element is the ratio of the primary sugars: fructose to glucose.
Honey which is supersaturated with a totally excessive percent of glucose, consisting of brassica honey, crystallizes almost right away after harvesting, even as honeys with a low percentage of glucose, together with chestnut or tupelo honey, do now not crystallize. Some styles of honey can also produce few however very huge crystals, whilst others produce many small crystals.
Crystallization is likewise suffering from water content, because a high percentage of water inhibits crystallization, as does a excessive dextrin content material. Temperature additionally influences the fee of crystallization, with the fastest increase happening between 13 and 17 °C (fifty five and 63 °F). Crystal nuclei (seeds) have a tendency to shape greater effectively if the honey is disturbed, by way of stirring, shaking, or agitating, rather than if left at rest. However, the nucleation of microscopic seed-crystals is finest between 5 and eight °C (41 and forty-six °F).
Therefore, larger but fewer crystals have a tendency to shape at higher temperatures, whilst smaller but greater-severa crystals commonly shape at decrease temperatures. Below 5 °C, the honey will no longer crystallize, accordingly the authentic texture and tastemay be preserved indefinitely.
Honey is a supercooled liquid whilst saved under its melting point, as is everyday. At very low temperatures, honey does not freeze strong; rather its viscosity will increase. Like maximum viscous drinks, the honey will become thick and slow with reducing temperature.
At −20 °C (−4 °F), honey may seem or even experience stable, but it maintains to waft at very low rates. Honey has a tumbler transition between −forty two and −51 °C (−forty four and −60 °F). Below this temperature, honey enters a glassy kingdom and will become an amorphous stable (noncrystalline).
Most styles of honey are Newtonian beverages, but a few kinds have non-Newtonian viscous homes. Honeys from heather or manuka display thixotropic homes. These forms of honey enter a gel-like kingdom while motionless, however, liquefy while stirred.
Electrical and optical houses
Because honey includes electrolytes, inside the form of acids and minerals, it reveals varying degrees of electrical conductivity. Measurements of the electric conductivity are used to determine the satisfactory of honey in phrases of ash content.
The impact honey has on mild is useful for figuring out the kind and excellent. Variations in its water content material adjust its refractive index. Water content can effortlessly be measured with a refractometer. Typically, the refractive index for honey ranges from 1.504 at 13% water content material to 1.474 at 25%. Honey also has an effect on polarized light, in that it rotates the polarization plane. The fructose gives a poor rotation, at the same time as the glucose offers a tremendous one.
The overall rotation can be used to measure the ratio of the combination. Honey might also vary in coloration between light yellow and dark brown, but other bright colors may additionally now and again be discovered, depending at the supply of the sugar harvested by using the bees.
Hygroscopy and fermentation
Honey has the capability to take in moisture immediately from the air, a phenomenon called hygroscopy. The quantity of water the honey absorbs is dependent on the relative humidity of the air.
Because honey includes yeast, this hygroscopic nature calls for that honey be stored in sealed boxes to save you fermentation, which typically begins if the honey’s water content material rises an awful lot above 25%. Honey has a tendency to absorb greater water in this way than the individual sugars allow on their own, which may be due toother substances it consists of.
Fermentation of honey generally takes place after crystallization, due to the fact without the glucose, the liquid portion of the honey, by and large, includes a concentrated mixture of fructose, acids, and water, supplying the yeast with sufficient of a boom inside the water percent for growth. Honey this is to be stored at room temperature for long durations of time is often pasteurized, to kill any yeast, via heating it above 70 °C (158 °F).
Like all sugar compounds, honey caramelizes if heated sufficiently, turning into darker in color, and in the end burns. However, honey consists of fructose, which caramelizes at lower temperatures than glucose. The temperature at which caramelization begins varies, depending on the composition, but is typically among 70 and 110 °C (158 and 230 °F).
Honey also carries acids, which act as catalysts for caramelization. The specific forms of acids and their quantities play a primary role in determining the exact temperature. Of those acids, the amino acids, which arise in very small amounts, play a vital role inside the darkening of honey. The amino acids form darkened compounds called melanoidins, in the course of a Maillard reaction.
The Maillard reaction happens slowly at room temperature, taking from some to several months to show visible darkening, however, accelerates dramatically with increasing temperatures. However, the reaction also can be slowed with the aid of storing the honey at colder temperatures.
Unlike many other liquids, honey has a very bad thermal conductivity of 0.5 W/(m⋅K) at 13% water content (as compared to 401 W/(m⋅K) of copper), taking a long time to attain thermal equilibrium. Due to its high kinematic viscosity honey does now not switch heat through momentum diffusion (convection) but alternatively through thermal diffusion (extra like a solid), so melting crystallized honey can easily result in localized caramelization if the heat supply is just too warm or now not lightly distributed.
However, honey takes considerably longer to liquefy when just above the melting factor than at expanded temperatures. Melting 20 kg of crystallized honey at 40 °C (104 °F) can take into 24 hours, even as 50 kg may also take two times as long.
These times can be cut nearly in half of via heating at 50 °C (122 °F); however, most of the minor substances in honey can be affected significantly by way of heating, converting the flavor, aroma, or other properties, so heating is commonly executed at the lowest temperature and for the shortest time possible
Acid content material and flavor effects
The common pH of honey is 3.9, however, it can range from 3.four to 6.1. Honey contains many styles of acids, both natural and amino. However, the different sorts and their amounts vary extensively, relying on the type of honey. These acids may be aromatic or aliphatic (nonaromatic).
The aliphatic acids contribute greatly to the flavor of honey by way of interacting with the flavors of different ingredients.
Organic acids comprise a maximum of the acids in honey, accounting for 0.17–1.17% of the aggregate, with gluconic acid formed via the movements of glucose oxidase as the most prevalent.
Minor amounts of other organic acids are present, along with formic, acetic, butyric, citric, lactic, malic, pyroglutamic, propionic, valeric, capronic, palmitic, and succinic, amongst many others.
Volatile organic compounds
Individual honeys from one of a kind plant sources include over 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which play a primary function in figuring out honey flavors and aromas. VOCs are carbon-primarily based compounds that without difficulty vaporize into the air, presenting aroma, including the scents of flowers, important oils, or ripening fruit.
The regular chemical families of VOCs discovered in honey consist of hydrocarbons, aldehydes, alcohols, ketones, esters, acids, benzenes, furans, pyrans, norisoprenoids, and terpenes, amongst many others and their derivatives. The precise VOCs and their amounts vary extensively between specific sorts of honey received by means of bees foraging on specific plant sources.
By example, when comparing the combination of VOCs in distinctive honeys in one review, longan honey had a higher quantity of volatiles (48 VOCs), even as sunflower honey had the lowest quantity of volatiles (eight VOCs).
VOCs are primarily added into the honey from the nectar, where they’re excreted through the flowers imparting individual scents. The specific sorts and concentrations of certain VOCs can be used to determine the kind of flowers used to produce monofloral honeys.
The specific geography, soil composition and acidity used to grow the plants also have an effect on honey aroma properties, inclusive of a “fruity” or “grassy” aroma from longan honey, or a “waxy” aroma from sunflower honey. Dominant VOCs in one have a look at have been linalool oxide, trans-linalool oxide, 2-phenylacetaldehyde, benzyl ethanol, isophorone, and methyl nonanoate.
VOCs also can be added from the bodies of the bees, be produced by way of the enzymatic moves of digestion, or from chemical reactions that occur between exceptional substances in the honey throughout storage, and therefore may additionally change, increase, or lower over long durations of time.
VOCs can be produced, altered, or greatly affected by temperature and processing. Some VOCs are warmness labile, and are destroyed at improved temperatures, even as others can be created for the duration of non-enzymatic reactions, together with the Maillard reaction VOCs are accountable for nearly all the aroma produced by way of a honey, which can be described as “sweet”, “flowery”, “citrus”, “almond” or “rancid”, among other terms.
In addition, VOCs play a massive function in determining the precise flavor of the honey, both via the aromas and taste. VOCs from honeys in specific geographic regions can be used as floral markers of these regions, and as markers of the bees that foraged the nectars.