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Define honey. Give classification, properties, general uses & chemical tests of them.


Synonyms: Purified Honey, Mel, Clarified Honey, Strained Honey, Madhu (Hindi)

Biological Source: Honey is a sugary secretion deposited by the honeybees, Apis mellifera Linn. and other species of the Apis in the honeycomb. It must be free from foreign substances such as parts of insects, leaves, etc., but may contain pollen grains.

Family: Apidae.

Habitat: Honey is produced mainly in England, West Indies, California, Canada, Chile and in some parts of Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Collection: Honeybees live in swarms which are gathered into hives. A hive contains:

  1. Single queen bee.
  2. The male or drones and
  3. The worker bees which are undeveloped females.

• The worker bees possess a long, hollow tube to insert into the nectarines of the flowers.

• The tube is formed from the maxillae and labium.

• They take nectar from the flowers and pass it through the oesophagus into the honey-sac or crop. The nectar, which is an aqueous solution of sucrose (25%), is mixed with salivary secretion containing the enzyme invertase and then is hydrolyzed into the invert sugar.

• On returning at the hive the worker bees deposit the contents of the honey sac in the previously prepared cell of the honeycomb.

• The filled cell is sealed by wax. For collecting the honey, the honeycomb is smoked to remove bees, the comb is cut and honey is collected either by drainage or by expression.

• The honey obtained by expression procedure is contaminated with the wax.

• For getting purified honey, it is heated at 800C when the impurities float on the surface which is removed.

• Honey is thick, syrupy, translucent liquid when fresh.
• color – pale yellow or reddish-brown and
• odor -Pleasant
• Taste-sweet which are dependent upon the floral source of the product.
• The honey obtained from Eucalyptus and Banksia species has somewhat unpleasant odor and taste and the honey collected from Datura stramonium is poisonous.
• On storage it becomes opaque and granular due to the crystallization of dextrose.

Chemical Constituents: Honey consists chiefly of
• Glucose (30-40%)
• Fructose (40-50%)
• Sucrose (0.1-10%)
• Dextrin
• Formic acid
• Volatile oil and pollen grains.
• In addition to these, traces of enzymes, vitamins, proteins, maltose, pentosans, gums, trace elements, amino acids and coloring matter are also present in honey.

• Mild laxative
• Bactericidal
• Sedative
• Antiseptic and alkaline characters.

• It is used for cold, cough, fever, sore eye and throat, tongue and duodenal ulcers, liver disorders, pulmonary tuberculosis, marasmus, rickets, scurvy and insomnia.
• It is applied as a remedy on open wounds after surgery.
• Honey works quicker than many antibiotics because it is easily absorbed into the blood stream.
• It is recommended in the treatment of preoperative cancer.
• Honey, mixed with onion juice, is a good remedy for arteriosclerosis in brain.
• Diet rich in honey is recommended for infants, convalescents, diabetic patients and invalids.
• Honey is an important ingredient of certain lotions, cosmetics, soaps, creams, balms, toilet-waters and inhalations.

• Honey is adulterated with cane sugar, corn syrup and artificial invert sugar which are obtained by acid hydrolysis of sucrose.
• The sugar contains furfural which gives red color with resorcinol in the presence of hydrochloric acid.
• On prolonged heating or storage of the honey furfural may be formed in the genuine honey.

Chemical Test:

Molisch’s Test: The solution was taken in a test tube and treated with 1ml of 1% alcoholic α-naphthol solution. 2 ml of concentrated sulfuric acid was added along the side of the test tube. Violet color ring at the junction of two liquids indicates the presence of carbohydrate.

Fehling’s Test: Small amount of solution was taken in a test tube with equal volumes of Fehling’s solution A and B. It was heated on a Bunsen burner. Formation of green, yellow or brick red color precipitate indicates the presence of reducing sugar(s).

Benedict’s Test: Small amount of solution was treated with equal volumes of Benedict’s reagent and heated. Formation of green, yellow or brick red color precipitate, indicates the presence of reducing sugar(s).

Barfoed’s Test: Small amount of solution was treated with equal volumes of Barfoed’s reagent and heated in a water bath for five minutes. Formation of red color precipitates at the bottom of the test tube indicates presence of monosaccharide(s).

Bial’s Orcinol Test: Few drop of test solution of the drug was added to boiling Bial’s reagent. Appearance of green or purple color indicates the presence of pentose sugar(s).

Selwinoff’s Test: 3 ml of Selwinoff’s reagent and 1 ml of test solution were taken in a test tube and heated in a water bath. Formation of red color indicates presence of ketoses like fructose or sucrose.

Fiehe’s Test for Artificial Invert Sugar: 10 ml of honey was shaken with 5 ml of petroleum or solvent ether for 5-10 minutes. The upper ethereal layer was separated and evaporated in a China Dish. On addition of 1% solution of resorcinol in 1 ml of hydrochloric acid a transient red color was formed in natural honey while in artificial honey the color persists for some time.

The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. … The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide.

The physical properties of honey alone will positively impact the wound healingenvironment and the healing process, specifically because honey is acidic and has a pH of around 3.2-4.5, and it is well known that topical acidification of wounds promotes healing by increasing the release of oxygen from hemoglobin


  1. Write the synonym biological source of honey
  2. Write the organoleptic characters of honey
  3. Honey obtained from which plant are unpleasant odor and taste
  4. Honey obtained from which plant are poisonous
  5. Give a detail account on chemical constituents of honey
  6. Why do honey become opaque on storage
  7. What are the uses of honey
  8. Write the adulterants of honey
  9. Write a detail note on chemical tests of honey
  10. Write the chemical tests which indicate the presence of reducing sugar in honey
  11. Write the chemical tests which indicate the presence of monosaccharides in honey
  12. Write the chemical tests which indicate the presence of pentose sugar in honey
  13. Describe Fiehe’s test or test for artificial invert sugar