The Honey as a Bioindicator of the Environment

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Monofloral rape, sunflower, linden and acacia honeys as well as honeys sampled within and around the Austrian towns Vienna and Linz, as well as in rural areas in Lower Austria, were analysed for main and trace elements. The results were tested to be used as indication of urban dust exposure. Main elements of the ash are K, P, and B, which are specific for plant origin. Ash based data correct for dilutions by the sugar matrix. They showed enrichments of Cu, Zn and Mo, whereas the contaminant elements Cd, Pb and Co were found at about the same levels as expectable in dust. Ash-based Al, Fe, Cr and Li were much lower than soil levels obtainable from aqua regia. Among the monofloral honey samples, the effect of adjacent soil was largest for Mn. Most differences between rural areas and urban areas in Vienna and Linz were within experimental errors, both per sample weight and per ash weight. In cases honey samples are considered to trace contaminations, the additional use of ash-based data is recommended.

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