Mint (Mentha spp.) Honey: Analysis of the Phenolic Profile and Antioxidant Activity
1University of Rijeka, Faculty of Health Studies, Viktora Cara Emina 5, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
2University of Rijeka, Trg braće Mažuranića 10, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
3University of Rijeka, Department of Biotechnology, Radmile Matejčić 2, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
4Croatian Veterinary Institute, Veterinary Institute Rijeka, Laboratory for Analytical Chemistry and Residues, Podmurvice 29, 51 000 Rijeka
5University of Rijeka, Faculty of Engineering, Vukovarska 58, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
6Center for Advanced Computing and Modelling, University of Rijeka, Radmile Matejčić 2, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
Received: 2 March 2022
Accepted: 31 May 2022
mint (Mentha spp.) honey; honey chemical characterization; physicochemical properties; melissopalynology; food authentication
Research background. The composition of honey is influenced by the botanical source and geographical area of the nectar from which it is derived. Unifloral honeys reach higher market value than multifloral honeys due to their specific aromas, which result from volatile and phenolic compounds.
Experimental approach. The aim of our study is to characterize the phenolic composition of a rare unifloral variety of honey – mint (Mentha spp.) honey. For this purpose, we performed standard physicochemical analyses, pollen analysis, determined total phenolic and flavonoid content, analysed antioxidant activity and performed qualitative and quantitative analyses of phenolic compounds for five mint honeys.
Results and conclusions. Our results indicate that mint honey samples have high phenolic content, expressed in gallic acid equivalents, from (76.7±0.6) to (90.1±1.1) mg/100 g, and flavonoid content, expressed as quercetin equivalents, from (6.7±0.6) to (12.5±0.8) mg/100 g. These honey samples also exhibit strong antioxidant activity, expressed as Trolox equivalents, from (33.6±2.8) to (51.3±1.2) mg/100 g and from (14.4±0.8) to (55.1±2.4) mg/100 g when analysed with DPPH and ABTS assays, respectively. Quantitative LC-MS/MS analysis revealed that the most abundant phenols in all samples were chrysin, apigenin and p-coumaric acid. Qualitative LC-MS/MS analysis identified the presence of kaempferide, diosmetin, acacetin and several caffeic acid derivatives.
Novelty and scientific contribution. Our study indicates that mint honey contains unique phenolic profiles, which likely contribute to its distinctive aroma and strong antioxidant activity. A detailed description of the rare honey varieties gives beekeepers greater visibility and easier access to the demanding natural product market.