Bee honey color variation throughout the year in Hejotitán, Jalisco, México.

Roberto Quintero Dominguez, Jose Luis Reyes-Carrillo, Lino de la Cruz-Larios, Diego Raymundo González-Eguiarte


Bee honey is a highly valued food whose international marketing is controlled by quality standards that are based on its physicochemical properties. One of them is color, which does not reflect a high or low quality, but rather the preferences of certain consumer markets. Color in honey is mostly determined by its floral sources that constantly change throughout the year. This study was intended to record color variations of the honey collected by Apis mellifera. For this purpose, honey was sampled from three selected hives, in an apiary in the town of Huejotitan, state of Jalisco, in western Mexico, on a monthly basis for a year. Color was measured according to the Pfund scale. Humidity was also measured since fermentation due to excessive moisture could spoil the samples. Two additional samples were collected, as well, from the bulk of honey at the time of the harvests, directly from the extractor: one from the spring harvest in May 2012, and the other from the fall harvest in December 2012. A total of 23 samples were obtained from December 2011 to December 2012. Color ranged from 0 mm Pfund (water white) to 85 mm Pfund (light amber) and humidity from 17% to 24%. It was discovered that the samples collected during the peak of the nectar flow, October - November, were contrastingly whiter than the rest. Although requiring more work, since consumers prefer clearer honeys, it is concluded that honey harvested at intervals during the high flow in the hives, with careful consideration of the moisture and making sure to keep honeys from different hives, apiaries and producers separate, a wider variety of honeys would be obtained, with different shades of color and different properties, better targeting the more specialized and demanding markets of today.



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