Comparative pollen analysis of honeys from apiary and open markets in Nigeria and Bénin Republic
There have been doubts as to the authenticity of honeys purchased in the open markets mainly due to sharp practices of vendors. Hence, pollen analysis was carried out on honeys from open markets and those from an apiary to ascertain the veracity of the claims. Eleven honey samples, six from the apiary and five from the open markets, were analysed for their pollen content. Pollen types and number in the apiary honeys varied between 7 and 13 and 57 and 64,000 respectively; the most dominant pollen types being those of Elaeis guineensis and herbaceous plants. Pollen types in the open market honeys on the other hand varied between 11 and 48 while counts varied between 626 and 241,623, and were dominated by pollen of Guinea savanna plants. Pollen assemblages in the apiary honeys reflected the surrounding vegetation of the apiary which was secondary forest as well as its production season. In contrast, pollen assemblages of all the open market honeys revealed their sources as being Guinea savanna zone. This however, indicates the vegetation of the producing locality of only one of the honeys and also contradicts the claim of a rainforest source for the others. Results from this study underscore the significance of melissopalynology in ascertaining sources of honeys, and highlight the importance of the Guinea savanna in beekeeping and honey production.
Key words: Pollen, Bees, Guinea savanna, Botanical origin, Honey, Melissopalynology