Physico- chemical qualities of honey harvested from different beehive types in Zambia

  • V Nyau
  • EP Mwanza
  • HB Moonga


Beekeeping is one of the income generating activities in many parts of the rural areas of Zambia and is being promoted by both the government and nongovernmental organizations. The main benefit of beekeeping is the production of honey and beeswax which are valuable sources of income for the small-holder farmers. Honey is a sweet liquid gathered by honey bees from nectar or other secretions of plants which they transform by addition of enzymes and evaporation of water. Beekeeping also plays an important role in protecting the natural environment and gives the communities other economic benefits from the forests as they have a vested interest in protecting trees that are a source for their honey. In the recent past, Zambian farmers involved in this beekeeping have adopted modern bee keeping approaches that involve the use of modern beehives such as the log, mud, standard wood and adjusted wood as opposed to the traditional bark type. In order to ascertain the effect of the beehive type on the quality, honey harvested from these beehives in Kapiri Mposhi area of Zambia was investigated for selected quality characteristics. The investigated parameters included ash, moisture, pH, total soluble solids and soluble sugars. Ash content of the honey is important because it represents its mineral content and forms part of proximate analysis for nutritional evaluation. The ash content ranged from 0.198 and 0.271%, pH 4.26 and 4.44, moisture 14.9 and 16.4%, total soluble solids 83.6 and 85.7% and soluble sugar 81.6 and 83.4%. The findings from the study demonstrated that the beehive type did not have a significant (P > 0.05) effect on all the selected quality characteristics investigated. Furthermore, comparisons of the findings on honey quality characteristics to the guidelines stipulated by the Codex Alimentarius and European Union (EU) standards showed conformity to these standards.

Keywords: Beekeeping, Beehive, Honey, Quality characteristics

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Volume 13 No. 2 April 2013

Author Biographies

V Nyau
Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zambia, P. O. Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia
EP Mwanza
Food and Drug Laboratory, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia
HB Moonga
Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zambia, P. O. Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358