Module 13: Honey & Honey Testing

Dr. Faisal Mohammed (Ph.D. Chemistry), Head, Research, Outreach, Consulting and Analytical Services (ROCAS) Unit, Department of Chemistry, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. 

Table of Contents

What Is Honey?

“…a sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers, which the bees collect, transform and store in honey combs”

There Are 2 Types Of Honey:

  1. Blossom honey  is produced from the nectar of plants and includes multifloral or unifloral types.
  2. Honeydew honey is produced from other excretions from plants, caused by excretions of plant-sucking insects.

Honey contains vitamins and minerals, sugars, carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids.

Uses Of Honey

Medicinal Purposes

  • Ease of sore throat/coughs
  • Healing of wounds
  • Protects against Cancer
  • Protects against inflammation
  • Fights diseases
  • Anti-bacterial properties

Modern Uses

  • Natural sweetener
  • Good for diabetics
  • Natural energy booster

Honey Characteristics

Pollen is a main source of protein which also provides fats, minerals, and vitamins. Pollen is collected by worker bees, combined with nectar and stored in honeycomb  cells as bee bread

There are two types of honey based on their pollen content: monofloral and multifloral.

The pollen is identified by:

  • Taking a sample of honey
  • Mixing with water
  • Counting the pollen grains
  • Matching the pollen grains to the pollen grains of plants
  • Identifying the type of honey based on pollen percentage

Honey Testing

The quality of honey is based mainly on its Chemical and Physical properties.  Testing honey samples can tell you valuable information about the quality and authenticity of the honey. Testing can also compare local honey samples to those around the world. 

The important properties of honey which are tested, and the reasons for their testing are:

Important properties




Controls fermentation/Prolongs shelf life

Ash Content/

Electrical Conductivity

Mineral Content


Food Source/Adulteration


Controls growth of bacteria

Optical Density

Classify the colour of honey


Health benefits of honey/Superfood