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Physiochemical characteristics of honey obtained from traditional and modern hive production systems in Tigray region, northern Ethiopia

G Gebremedhin
G Tadesse
E Kebede


This study was conducted with the objective to determine the  physiochemical characteristics of Tigray honey (n= 38) and to compare the quality honey of Tigray with those described in the Quality Standard Authority of Ethiopia, Codex Standard and European Honey Directive. Honey samples were collected from traditional hives (n =19) and modern hives (n=19) production systems. Physiochemical characteristics evaluated were: color, moisture, reducing sugar, sucrose, acidity, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), mineral content, pH, water insoluble solids and specific gravity. All parameters were analyzed following the techniques proposed by the Codex Standard for Honey. A statistical analysis using GMP5 soft ware was utilized to determine the differences in quality between honey from traditional and modern hive production systems. The average content of mineral, moisture, acidity, invert sugar, pH, sucrose, specific gravity and water insoluble solids in traditional hive honey samples were 22%, 18.25%, 29.89 meq kg-1, 70.95%, 4.13, 2.37%, 1.41 and 0.07%, respectively. On the other hand, the corresponding values for honey samples from modern hive production system were 0.18%, 18.60%, 29.12meqkg-1, 71.42 %, 4.04, 2.71%, 1.40, and 0.03%, respectively. Consequently, no significant differences (p> 0.05) were found in all the quality parameters except for water insoluble solids. The mean value for HMF was 11.18 mgkg-1 for the processed honey and the color of the honey varied from white to amber with light amber (55.26%) being the predominant color of the honey in Tigray. All the honey samples met the Codex Standard, QSAE and EU physiochemical quality Standard limits for honey except water insoluble solids in traditional hive production system. Water insoluble solids were found in 26.32% of the samples examined which will have to be improved through intensive training and experience sharing.
Key word: Honey, Quality, Physiochemical characteristics, Tigray

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eISSN: 2220-184X
print ISSN: 2073-073X