Research into manuka honey and its bioactive properties is being carried out by scientists at universities around the world. The manuka honey industry is a multi-million dollar business and interest in it just keeps growing.
Scientists are still trying to work out how and why manuka honey has such unique properties as more and more products are developed from it, especially for the wound and skin care market.
Apimondia is the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations, but it also represents many other organizations involved in apiculture and its aim is to promote the development of apiculture in all countries.
Every two years, Apimondia holds an international congress, which in 2015 was in Korea. The event brought together a range of actors in apicultural research, academia and business to promote cooperation and knowledge in the fields of beekeeping and honey.
Research into manuka honey featured prominently at Apimondia 2015.
Manuka honey research
One of the main symposium sessions on Beekeeping Technology and Quality at Apimondia 2015 was on manuka honey.
The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA) presented its work on its efforts to develop a way of identifying genuine manuka honey, and gave a presentation on “The use of chemical profiling and contemporary data interpretation methods to quantify manuka honey”.
The long term aim of the research by the UMFHA is to develop a definitive chemical profile of genuine manuka honey. This will help consumers, who are often willing to pay a much higher price for manuka honey than other types, but the limited supply has left the door open to fake manuka.
Manuka vs Kanuka
Another paper was presented on the “Differentiation of Manuka and Kanuka Honey by NMR Spectroscopy”. This high-tech research uses nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to examine the atoms of a particular substance.
Kanuka honey is very similar to manuka honey and, for example, sometimes just examining the pollen alone cannot help determine whether it is kanuka or manuka honey. This research again is about ensuring manuka honey is genuine.