Honey authenticity: evaluation of phenolic compounds as potential authenticity markers using target LC-HRMS screening

S Karabournioti, G Koulis , E Panagopoulou , Fotios Stergiou, Alberto Fiore, P Katsianou, C Proestos , Nikolaos Thomaidis

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Honey is a natural sweetener and as such it can be greatly affected by fraudulent practices like mislabeling (blossom honey sold as honeydew honey) or the addition of illegal substances (syrup or water). Phenolic compounds, flavonoids and phenolic acids, are the most abundant antioxidant nutritive constituents and proved to be beneficial to human health. The concentration and the presence of these compounds are strictly connected to the geographical and/or the botanical origin of the honey [1]. Thus, the determination of phenolic profile is of great importance for the assessment of honey authenticity. To this end, the determination of phenolic compounds was performed using an already in-house developed and validated UPLC-ESI-QTOF MS method in order to find unique marker compounds for discrimination of honey samples.
    The method was applied to over 200 unifloral and polyfloral Greek honey samples derived from 5 different botanical origins. A database consisting of 25 phenolic compounds, encountered in honey, was utilized in order to identify and quantify each of these compounds in all samples. The target screening approach was performed using Bruker TASQ 1.4 software. The identification criteria were mass accuracy, retention time, isotopic fitting as well as MS/MS fragments. The quantification involved the correction of compound signal using internal standard for compensating process losses and calculation of the concentration using standard addition curves. The selection of the most suitable internal standard for each compound was conducted prior to analysis comparing how each candidate affect the standard addition curve as well as the RSDr%. It has to be noticed that potential authenticity markers have been spotted via the target screening approach. Notably, high chrysin concentration has been measured in blossom honeys comparing to other botanical types, while quercetin concentration seems to differentiate blossom from thyme honey samples.

    KEYWORDS: honey, honey authenticity, phenolic compounds, high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), target screening approach

    [1] M Camina, Jose, Roberto G Pellerano, and Eduardo J Marchevsky, Geographical and botanical classification of honeys and apicultural products by chemometric methods. A review. , Current Analytical Chemistry 8.3, pp. 408-425. 2012.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2018
    Event11th Aegean Analytical Chemistry Days - International Conference Center of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh), Chania, Greece
    Duration: 25 Sep 201829 Sep 2018
    Conference number: 11


    Conference11th Aegean Analytical Chemistry Days
    Abbreviated titleAACD 2018
    Internet address


    • Honey
    • Honey authenticity
    • Phenolic compounds
    • High resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS)
    • Target screening approach


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