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Volatile Compounds in Honey: A Review on Their Involvement in Aroma, Botanical Origin Determination and Potential Biomedical Activities

Author(s): Christy E. Manyi-Loh | Roland N. Ndip | Anna M. Clarke

Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ISSN 1422-0067

Volume: 12;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 9514;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: honey | natural product | VOCs | aroma | floral origin | biomedical activities

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in honey are obtained from diverse biosynthetic pathways and extracted by using various methods associated with varying degrees of selectivity and effectiveness. These compounds are grouped into chemical categories such as aldehyde, ketone, acid, alcohol, hydrocarbon, norisoprenoids, terpenes and benzene compounds and their derivatives, furan and pyran derivatives. They represent a fingerprint of a specific honey and therefore could be used to differentiate between monofloral honeys from different floral sources, thus providing valuable information concerning the honey’s botanical and geographical origin. However, only plant derived compounds and their metabolites (terpenes, norisoprenoids and benzene compounds and their derivatives) must be employed to discriminate among floral origins of honey. Notwithstanding, many authors have reported different floral markers for honey of the same floral origin, consequently sensory analysis, in conjunction with analysis of VOCs could help to clear this ambiguity. Furthermore, VOCs influence honey’s aroma described as sweet, citrus, floral, almond, rancid, etc. Clearly, the contribution of a volatile compound to honey aroma is determined by its odor activity value. Elucidation of the aroma compounds along with floral origins of a particular honey can help to standardize its quality and avoid fraudulent labeling of the product. Although only present in low concentrations, VOCS could contribute to biomedical activities of honey, especially the antioxidant effect due to their natural radical scavenging potential.

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