Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Does Gamma Irradiation Make Honey Better?

A very important study concerning sterilized honey for medical use. People have used honey with success in treating wounds for centuries but its use in hospital settings requires irradiation. Though the results show no effect on physicochemical properties, there is significant effects on vitamins C, E and HMF (used to determine the amount of heat exposure which destroys healthy enzymes). There's also no mention of the effects on phenolic acids which have a strong impact on the therapeutic use of honey. Further studies are definitely required...

Does Gamma Irradiation Affect Physicochemical Properties of Honey? 
La Clinica Terapeutica, 2014 Mar-Apr

Honey is a supersaturated solution of sugars, enriched with proteins, minerals, vitamins, organic acids and polyphenols. Gamma irradiation is a physical technique of food preservation which protects the honey from insects' and microbial contamination during storage. We investigated the effect of gamma irradiation on physicochemical properties in two types of Malaysian honey, Gelam and Nenas.

Both honeys were irradiated at the dose 25 kGy in a cobalt-60 irradiator. The physicochemical properties pH, moisture, acidity, color, and sugar content as well as vitamins C and E, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and mineral contents, for the irradiated and non-irradiated honeys were assessed.

The results revealed that pH, acidity, minerals and sugar contents in both types of honey were not affected significantly by gamma irradiation, while moisture, vitamin E contents and HMF level decreased significantly with gamma irradiation. However, significant increase in color intensity and vitamin C were observed after gamma irradiation for both types of honey.

In summary, gamma irradiation treatment of honey (in the dose mentioned above) did not cause significant changes in the physicochemical and mineral contents, except for significant alterations in color intensity, moisture, vitamins (C and E), and HMF contents.

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