Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Identification of flavonoid markers for the botanical origin of Eucalyptus honey.

PMID 10820049


European Eucalyptus honeys showed a common and characteristic HPLC profile in which the flavonoids myricetin (3,5,7,3',4', 5'-hexahydroxyflavone), tricetin (5,7,3',4',5'-pentahydroxyflavone), quercetin (3,5,7,3',4'-pentahydroxyflavone), luteolin (5,7,3', 4'-tetrahydroxyflavone), and kaempferol (3,5,7, 4'-tetrahydroxyflavone) were identified. Their contents, and relative amounts, in the analyzed honey samples were quite constant and supported their floral origin. In addition, ellagic acid and the propolis-derived flavonoids pinobanksin, pinocembrin, and chrysin were detected in most samples. The contents of these nonfloral phenolics were much more variable as could be expected for their propolis origin. Myricetin, tricetin, and luteolin had not been identified as floral markers in any other honey sample previously analyzed in our laboratory (chestnut, citrus, rosemary, lavender, acacia, rapeseed, sunflower, heather, lime tree, etc.) or reported in the literature, suggesting that these could be useful markers. Only in some individual heather samples produced in Portugal has tricetin previously been detected in minor amounts. These samples, however, were contaminated with Eucalyptus as revealed by their pollen analysis and the lack of tricetin or their glycosides in heather floral nectar. It remains to be established if myricetin, tricetin, and luteolin originate from Eucalyptus floral nectar where the corresponding glycosides should be present.