Members Update: The Identification of Mānuka Honey: An Indicator Test – November 2016 Issue 37

Members Update: The Identification of Mānuka Honey: An Indicator Test – November 2016 Issue 37

The Identification of Mānuka Honey: An Indicator Test

Dr Jonathan Stephens of Auckland University presented his paper ‘The Identification of Mānuka Honey: A new approach to determine authenticity and integrity’ at the 1st Food Chemistry Conference in Amsterdam on 1 November 2016.
His presentation gave attendees an overview of the development of a unique method for indicating whether or not a product is genuine Mānuka honey. The UMF Honey Association in partnership with Analytica Laboratories and Comvita Innovation have developed a portable fluorescent unit that can be used to check Mānuka honey products quickly and easily.
Mānuka honey contains key signature compounds some of which are Leptosperin and Lepteridine. Both of these compounds provide unique fluorescent signals that can be quantified. Fluorescence testing of Mānuka honey is, therefore, another method for determining whether or not a a product is from the nectar collected from Leptospermum scoparium – New Zealand Mānuka plants.
To obtain a reading, the Mānuka honey is diluted in a reaction mixture and the signal read using a special portable fluorescent detection unit. The honey type is then calculated, by simply applying the reading to the UMF Honey Association’s comprehensive database. The readout shows whether or not the product tested is in fact Mānuka honey.

While work continues on refining the prototype units, once completed and in production, they will provide an additional method for the industry to check and verify products. It is expected that the units will complement the wider research programme and grading system that has been developed by the Association, as a way of safeguarding New Zealand’s Mānuka honey industry.

The handheld device is expected to be of particular interest to beekeepers, owners of extraction facilities and honey packing firms, regulators and those operating in the retail environment.
Dr Jonathan Stephens’ presentation is available upon request to members of the UMF® Honey Association.

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First Food Chemistry Conference
Shaping the Future of Food Quality, Health and Safety
30 October – 1 November 2016 | NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The exciting new conference celebrated the 40th anniversary of the leading international Food Chemistry journal. Bringing together experts and young researchers from academia, research centres, and industry to debate on the latest scientific advances in the field of food chemistry that help to shape current and future challenges in food quality, food safety, and health aspects of the food chain. These challenges are also intimately linked to the wider EU Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges related to health, food security, sustainable agriculture, maritime research and the bioeconomy.

Topics included:
Emerging non-nutrient bioactives in food – chemistry, analysis, function and health
Chemical reactions in foods: mechanisms, kinetics and impact on quality and health
Food structure, food quality and health including novel digestibility, processing technologies,
Nanotechnology and food packaging
Risk/benefits evaluation of food components
Food authenticity and integrity
Novel and rapid methods for food quality, integrity, and safety
Future research needs and funding opportunities