Volatile Profile of Croatian Lime Tree (Tilia sp.), Fir Honeydew (Abies alba) and Sage (Salvia officinalis) Honey

Dražen Lušić1*, Olivera Koprivnjak1, Duška Ćurić2, Anna G. Sabatini3 and Lanfranco S. Conte4

1Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Braće Branchetta 20, HR-51000 Rijeka, Croatia
2Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Pierottijeva 6, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
3Council for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture, National Institute of Apiculture, Via di Saliceto 80, I-40128 Bologna, Italy
4Department of Food Science, University of Udine, Via Marangoni 97, I-33100 Udine, Italy

Article history:

Received May 29, 2006
Accepted November 6, 2006

Key words:

sage honey, lime tree honey, fir honeydew honey, volatiles, solid phase microextraction (SPME), sensory characterization


Volatile profiles of lime tree (Tilia sp.), fir honeydew (Abies alba) and sage (Salvia officinalis) honey produced in Croatia have been studied by using headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. Melissopalynological and sensory characterization have been performed in order to check the reliability of botanical origin of the samples. In case of sage honey, sensory characteristics are reported for the first time and are rather uniform including: colour characterized as beige to jade, depending on the consistency; odour characterized as between light and medium intensity, slightly pungent and wooden; taste characterized as low sweetness, expressive acidity and apple caramel, with persistent fruity aftertaste. Characteristic volatile profiles of the analyzed honeys are described. Taking into consideration similarities with lime and fir honey volatile profiles reported in literature, characteristic volatile compounds resulting from qualitative data evaluation are proposed. Sage honey volatile profile has been reported for the first time and it was found quite different compared to the other studied honeys showing the lowest number of peaks among the studied honeys, 34. Several compounds belonging to the sage honey volatile profile have been identified for the first time in honeys. They include tetrahydro-2,2,5,5-tetramethylfuran, 3-hexenyl ester of butanoic acid, 2-methylbenzene, maltol, methyl ester of 3-furanocarboxylic acid and benzeneacetic acid. Based on the obtained results and with the lack of comparative literature data, they are proposed as characteristic volatiles for the volatile pattern of sage honey.


*Corresponding author: 
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                                               ++385 51 212 865

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