Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(12), 9514-9532; doi:10.3390/ijms12129514
Review

Volatile Compounds in Honey: A Review on Their Involvement in Aroma, Botanical Origin Determination and Potential Biomedical Activities

1 Microbial Pathogenicity and Molecular Epidemiology Research Group, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, P/Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa 2 Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, University of Buea, Box 63, Buea, Cameroon
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 November 2011; in revised form: 29 November 2011 / Accepted: 12 December 2011 / Published: 20 December 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Bioactives and Nutraceuticals)
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Abstract: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in honey are obtained from diverse biosynthetic pathways and extracted by using various methods associated with varying degrees of selectivity and effectiveness. These compounds are grouped into chemical categories such as aldehyde, ketone, acid, alcohol, hydrocarbon, norisoprenoids, terpenes and benzene compounds and their derivatives, furan and pyran derivatives. They represent a fingerprint of a specific honey and therefore could be used to differentiate between monofloral honeys from different floral sources, thus providing valuable information concerning the honey’s botanical and geographical origin. However, only plant derived compounds and their metabolites (terpenes, norisoprenoids and benzene compounds and their derivatives) must be employed to discriminate among floral origins of honey. Notwithstanding, many authors have reported different floral markers for honey of the same floral origin, consequently sensory analysis, in conjunction with analysis of VOCs could help to clear this ambiguity. Furthermore, VOCs influence honey’s aroma described as sweet, citrus, floral, almond, rancid, etc. Clearly, the contribution of a volatile compound to honey aroma is determined by its odor activity value. Elucidation of the aroma compounds along with floral origins of a particular honey can help to standardize its quality and avoid fraudulent labeling of the product. Although only present in low concentrations, VOCS could contribute to biomedical activities of honey, especially the antioxidant effect due to their natural radical scavenging potential.
Keywords: honey; natural product; VOCs; aroma; floral origin; biomedical activities

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MDPI and ACS Style

Manyi-Loh, C.E.; Ndip, R.N.; Clarke, A.M. Volatile Compounds in Honey: A Review on Their Involvement in Aroma, Botanical Origin Determination and Potential Biomedical Activities. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 9514-9532.

AMA Style

Manyi-Loh CE, Ndip RN, Clarke AM. Volatile Compounds in Honey: A Review on Their Involvement in Aroma, Botanical Origin Determination and Potential Biomedical Activities. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2011; 12(12):9514-9532.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Manyi-Loh, Christy E.; Ndip, Roland N.; Clarke, Anna M. 2011. "Volatile Compounds in Honey: A Review on Their Involvement in Aroma, Botanical Origin Determination and Potential Biomedical Activities." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 12, no. 12: 9514-9532.

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