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Authentic or synthetic? Discovering authenticity markers in luxury to low-cost honey varieties using a high-capacity sorptive extraction technique (HiSorb™)

This study demonstrates how sorptive extraction using high-capacity HiSorb probes was used to extract aroma compounds spanning a wide volatility range from different honey samples. Automated statistical analysis was used to uncover subtle differences between the honey samples to determine possible markers of authenticity.


Honey is a natural aromatic sweetener comprising over 95% water and sugars. The remainder is made up of compounds that include flavonoids, proteins, vitamins, free amino acids and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which give different honey varieties their distinctive characterstics.1 Unfortunately, honey is prone to food fraud, where either a less desirable honey is misrepresented as a more desirable one or honey substitutes are used to add bulk to the original product. The most common substitutes are cheap sweeteners, such as high fructose/maltose syrups, cane and refined beet sugar. 2 Traditional authentication techniques are becoming obsolete because they involve time-consuming sample preparation and pollen analysis by specially trained analysts. As a result, a new technique is being sought.

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