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J Chromatogr A. 2009 Oct 23;1216(43):7241-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2009.07.057. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry reveals the widespread occurrence of flavonoid glycosides in honey, and their potential as floral origin markers.

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  • 1Research Group on Quality, Safety and Bioactivity of Plant Foods, CEBAS-CSIC, P.O. Box 164, Espinardo 30100, Murcia, Spain.


HPLC-MS-MS analysis of unifloral honey extracts has shown the occurrence of flavonoid glycosides in most of the analyzed samples. These compounds are not present in large amounts, but can reach up to 600 microg/100g honey in canola and rapeseed honeys. Rhamnosyl-hexosides (tentatively rutinosides and neohesperidosides) and dihexosides (hexosyl(1-->2)hexosides and hexosyl(1-->6)hexosides) of flavonols such as quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin and 8-methoxykaempferol, are the main flavonoid glycosides found in honey. However, flavonoid triglycosides and monoglycosides are also detected in some floral origins. Eucalyptus and orange blossom nectars were collected and analyzed showing that nectar flavonoid glucosides, as is the case of eucalyptus flavonoids, can be readily hydrolyzed by the bee saliva enzymes, while flavonoid rhamnosyl-glucosides, as is the case of citrus nectar flavonoids, are not hydrolyzed, and because of these reasons the flavonoid glycoside content of citrus honey is higher than that of eucalyptus honey that contains mainly aglycones. The flavonoid glycoside profiles detected in honeys suggest that this could be related to their floral origin and the results show that the HPLC-MSn ion trap analysis of flavonoid glycosides in honey is a promising analytical method to help in the objective determination of the floral origin of unifloral honeys.

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