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Vojtěch Kružík, Adéla Grégrová, Aleš Rajchl and Helena Čížková

Abstract

Fast evaluation of honey quality is a topical and significant problem of the food industry, bee keepers and consumers. In this work, 22 samples of commercially available honey aromas (with methyl and ethyl esters of phenylacetic acid predominated), 13 samples of authentic honey collected directly from bee keepers (characterised by high content of benzaldehyde, 2-phenylethanol, hotrienol and 2-phenylacetaldehyde) and 63 honeys purchased from an outdoor market were evaluated based on volatiles profiles determined through solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC/MS) and then suspicious samples were identified. The results were statistically processed and compared with results of a sensory analysis. Six honeys, which differed significantly in volatiles profiles (outliers detected by Factor Analysis), selected volatile substance representation (furan-2-carbaldehyde, 1,4-dimethylpyrazole, benzaldehyde, 2-phenylacetaldehyde) and honey aroma intensity and pleasantness were subjected to targeted analyses (i.e. determination of 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furaldehyde, diastase activity, unauthorized additive presence). Four of these suspicious samples were found to have high content of 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furaldehyde (more than 40 mg/kg), three honeys had low values for diastase activity (less than 8) and three samples positive for triacetin addition. The fact that all these samples revealed a breach of least one of the selected quality parameters defined by the Codex Alimentarius standard proved the proposed methodology to be a useful tool for fast quality evaluation of honey.