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Influence of spatial variation on the physicochemical properties and mineral content of stingless bee honey (Heterotrigona itama) in Terengganu, Malaysia

Izzati Shahira Rosidi Sujanto, Nur Syahidah Ramly, John Yew Huat Tang, Asmaliza Abd Ghani, Nadiawati Alias, Salmah Mohamed, Norhayati Ngah*

Faculty of Bioresources and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Besut Campus, 22200, Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia


The growing interest in the usage of stingless bee honey as a functional food proceeds from its composition, which has been associated with bio-medicinal properties. However, the composition of honey is dependent on the types and origin of bees’ foods, which are flower nectar and plant honeydew. Thus, this study was done to investigate the influence of spatial variation on the physicochemical and mineral content of stingless bee honey in Terengganu, Malaysia. Honeys produced by Heterotrigona itama were collected from five different locations around Terengganu, Malaysia that are surrounded by different plant diversity. The physicochemical properties, antioxidant activity, total phenolic compounds, total flavonoid compounds, and minerals of stingless bee honey were evaluated. Results obtained show that the pH of honey at all locations differed significantly, ranging from 3.30 to 3.54. The sweetness of honey varied between locations, from 69.30 to 75.76 °Brix. The moisture content of honey ranged from 27.28 to 33.13% and the electrical conductivity from 0.65 to 1.46 mScm-1, which differed significantly among the five selected locations. The parameters for colour, L* (lightness of the sample), a* (the colour scale from red to green) and b* (the colour scale from yellow to blue) values ranged from 25.02 to 52.55, -0.12 to 7.42, and 10.36 to 14.88, respectively. The total flavonoid content of honey ranged from 1.41 to 6.64 mg CE/g, while total phenolic content gave a value of 3.94 to 10.54 mg GAE/g. The antioxidant activity of honey gave a value ranging from 71.14 to 85.27%. The location of hives had a significant influence on the amount of minerals in stingless bee honey. It can be concluded that the physicochemical properties and mineral content of honey produced by H. itama were different between locations due to the variation of plant diversity at respective locations. The data obtained provides information on the effect of spatial biodiversity variation on the quality of stingless bee honey in selected locations in Terengganu, Malaysia.

Keywords: Stingless bee honey, Physicochemical properties, Mineral content, Spatial variation

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Asian Journal of Agriculture and Biology © 2017  
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