5 Jul 2016

Analyze honey with Specac

Honey is similar to olive oil. Its authenticity is a huge factor in quality and price. What flower pollen was used? How many species of flora? Is it adulterated?

Because it can analyse liquids of any consistancy without affecting sample integrity, is reliable and repeatable and offers accurate chemical insights, FTIR ATR spectroscopy is a great asset for the quality control and investigation of honey and honey-related products.



Specac products are floating around in some of the honey analysis publications published online. Read more below.

Brazilian honey: Specac Golden Gate ATR

The University of Sao Paulo analysed Brazilian monofloral honey using the Specac Golden Gate ATR spectrometer accessory (along with HMF, colour, palynological and sensorial analysis). Palynological analysis is the study of a honey's origins (what and how many species of flora the honey's pollen came from).

The objective was to characterise these various measurands of the honey with spectral analysis and evaluate ATR as a technique for establishing botanical authenticity of honey (confirming the honey's floral origin is what it was claimed to be).

Honey samples were melted inside an oven, then allowed to cool to room temperature before spectral analysis. After being placed onto the Golden Gate's diamond puck, a drop of the honey sample was left to equilibrate for four minutes. For the ATR, a refractive index of 2.4 at 1,000 cm-1 was used with a penetration depth of 2.0 µm. 

According to the study, "the results showed that there are five monofloral, three bifloral and one extrafloral honey, and also that mid-infrared spectrometry can be used as a screening method for the routine analysis of Brazilian honey, with the advantages of being rapid, nondestructive, and accurate."


Read Preliminary Data on Brazilian Monofloral Honey from the Northeast Region Using FT-IR ATR Spectroscopic, Palynological, and Color Analysis here.

Honey adulteration with sugar: Specac Quest ATR

Shimadzu produced an application note for Pittcon 2015 which analysed commercial honeys using a spectrometer fitted with our Quest ATR spectrometer accessory.

  • Nine seperate commercial honey samples were diluted 10% W/W in deionized water.
  • Absorbance spectra was collected with the Shimadzu IR Tracer-100 with the Specac Quest ATR (ZnSe).
  • Sugar content for fructose, glucose and sucrose for each sample was estimated using chemometric analysis.


Peaks at 1250-900 showed levels of the aforementioned sugars and so some honeys that claimed to be 100% honey actually appeared to contain levels of glucose. This suggested corn syrup was used as an adulterant.

Read FTIR-ATR Characterization of Commercial Honey Samples and Their Adulteration with Sugar Syrups Using Chemometric Analysis here.

Croatian honey: Specac Golden Gate ATR

The University of Zagreb performed more or less the same research as the University of Sao Paulo, characterising the botanical origins of honey using FTIR ATR spectroscopy. They used the Specac Golden Gate ATR accessory in conjunction with a spectrometer.

"The results of this study showed that IR spectroscopy provides equally reliable results, but also represent rapid and cheap analytical tool in comparison to commonly used standard analytical methods."

Read Application of Infrared Spectroscopy in Honey Analysis here.

Check out #SpectroscopySolutions for more.