Microscopic detection of adulteration of honey with cane sugar and cane sugar productsJ.D. Kerkvlieta, M. Shresthab, K. Tuladharb and H. Manandharb
a Regional Inspectorate for Health Protection Food Inspection Service, Hoogte Kadijk 401, 1018 BK Amsterdam, The Netherlands
b Beekeeping Training and Extension Support Project (BETRESP), c/o HMG/SNV Nepal, PO Box 1966 Kathmandu, Nepal
Abstract - A microscopic procedure is described to detect adulteration of honey with cane sugar, acid-hydrolized cane sugar syrup or with 'honey' obtained from feeding sugar to bees. The method consists of preparing a microscope slide of the honey sample and taking up the sediment in glycerin jelly in the same way as in classical pollen analysis. Microscopic analysis is preferably done by polarization microscopy using crossed polars and a first-order red retardation plate. Adulteration of honey with white or brown cane sugar and syrups derived from cane sugar is shown by the presence of many parenchyma and sclereid cells, single rings from ring vessels and epidermis cells. These cells are very characteristic and originate from the sugar cane stem. Even a low percentage of cane sugar (products) may be detected in this way. Analysis of 10 selected samples of highly adulterated honey from the Philippines and Nepal is described. Upon further study it turned out that no false-positive or false-negative results were obtained. Sugar cane honeys did not contain sugar cane plant cells and so no false positives were observed, even in sugar cane honey.
Key words: honey / adulteration / cane sugar / microscopy