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Volume 38, Number 5, September-October 2007
Page(s) 453 - 461
Published online 19 October 2007
Apidologie 38 (2007) 453-461
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2007033

Alkane composition variations between darker and lighter colored comb beeswax

Dvory Namdara, b, Ronny Neumannc, Yossi Sladezkid, Nizar Haddade and Steve Weinera, f

a  Kimmel Center of Archaeological Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
b  Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel
c  Department of Organic Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
d  Honeybee Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Beit Dagan, Israel
e  Bee Research Unit, National Center for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer, Baqa' 19381, Jordan
f  Department of Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

(Received 27 March 2007 - Revised 24 May 2007 - Accepted 18 June 2007 - Published online 19 October 2007)

Abstract - Beeswax is composed of fatty acids, odd numbered n-alkanes and wax esters. Focusing on the most stable components of beeswax, namely the n-alkanes, we have found by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses of combs from twelve colonies from Israel and Jordan that as beeswax ages and darkens its n-alkane composition changes. The amount of even numbered n-alkanes (C22-C32) is significantly higher in darker colored beeswax as compared to light colored beeswax. We attribute this in part to the accumulation of cuticular residues found in the darker colored comb cells. Cuticular residues are known to contain C23-C32 odd and even numbered n-alkanes.

Key words: beeswax / color / n-alkane / cuticle / GC-MS

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007