Reports on the thermal stability of mānuka honey in terms of food processing have been few. This study investigated changes in nine characteristic chemicals of mānuka honey during heating. Among these, methylglyoxal (MGO) and 2′-methoxyacetophenone (MAP) were significantly decreased by heating at 90 °C. To elucidate the mechanism for this decrease, artificial honey was prepared from sugars and water with MAP or MGO and then heated. The decrease of MGO was enhanced with l-proline, lysine, or arginine derivatives, accompanied by formation of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, MGO-derived lysine dimer, or argpyrimidine, respectively, suggesting that an amino–carbonyl reaction is one pathway for the loss of MGO. The decrease of MAP in the artificial honey depended on the volume of headspace in a vessel. MAP from heated mānuka honey was also detected in the gas phase, indicating that MAP was vaporized. Heating could thus reduce the beneficial and/or signature molecules in honey.
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