Honeyis the nectar and sweet deposits from plants gathered, modified and stored inthe honeycomb by honeybees. It is a popular sweetener. Honey has essentiallywater (17.
2%) suspended in fructose (38.4%) and glucose (30.3%). Honey alsocontains sucrose (1.3%) and other carbohydrates (12%), minerals (0.
169%) andprotein (16mg/100g). The pH of honeyranges from 3.4- 6.1 with an average of 3.9, while water activity variesbetween 0.5-0.6 (White et al, 1962).
Gupta, Kaushik andJoshi(1992) in their work on influence of different treatments, storage temperatureand period on some physico-chemical characteristics and sensory qualities ofIndian honey. They found that unheated honey stored at 5 °C was mostacceptable. Colour changes during storage of honey in relation to theircomposition and initial colour was investigated by Pereyra,Burlin and Pilar (1999). According to White (1975), honey is a hygroscopic productthat absorbs moisture from the air, making it susceptible to fermentation. Mosthoneys contain more fructose than glucose, and fructose is a hygroscopiccarbohydrate. The gain or loss of moisture in honey, when exposed to air,depends on temperature, moisture content and relative humidity of the air. Munro (1943) showed the effect of temperature on viscosity ofhoney from three different states.
The greatest decrease in viscosity occurswith cold honey heated to room temperature, later heating reduces the viscosityof honey and heating above 30° C has a low practical value. Yanniotis et al (2006) studied the effect ofmoisture content on the viscosity of honey at different temperatures. It wasfound tha viscosity of honey varies with temperature, moisture content and itbotanical origin.
Viscosity was found to be more sensitive to temperaturechanges at low moisture content. Gairola et al (2013) studied some honey samplesfrom Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state in India. They evaluated andcompared the physicochemical including viscosity, specific gravity, moisturecontent, HMF, total reducing sugars (TRS), fructose, glucose and sucrose.Fructose and glucose represented the major sugars in all honey samples andmoisture percentage ranged from 19-25%. Helena(2007) examined six sample of honey and changes undergoing in the composition ofhoney during a half- year storage tome of that product at temperature of 20±2°C and 4±2°C weredetermined. The samples were also checked for any possible changes that couldhave been brought about by the thermal stabilization treatment, which wasperformed at temperature of 100°C (in a boiling water bath) for 15 minutes.
At roomtemperature, during a half-year storage period of honey samples the greatestchanges were recorded in sucrose content, which dropped by 79%, compared to itsinitial value. Thermal stabilization process itself did not bring about anychange in the content of the sugars tested. Karabournioti and Zervalaki (2001) studied the effects ofheat treatment on five honey samples with different botanical origins at temperaturesof 35, 45, 55, 65 and 75°C for 24 hours. The heat treated honey samples were analyzedfor their HMF content and invertase activity to detect exposure to heat.
Bacilek and Machova (1977) studied the fermentation of honeysolution with 21 strains of yeast by measuring alcohol and reducing sugar inthe honey solution after 17 days, 45 days and 75 days of fermentation. Theysuggested that quickness in complete honey fermentation depends upon yeast usedand recommended 6 strains for industrial use by considering flavorcharacteristics. Gomov and Sadovnikov (1977) studied the methods for preparationof alcoholic honey beverages. Diluted honey solution was acidified, sulphitedand then yeast was added for fermentation. They got the honey beverages withimproved flavor, aroma and biological value.
Liebl (1977) suggested the methodsof preserving honey from crystallization and natural fermentation by exposingto ultrasonic radiation for less than 5 minutes. Crane (1979) observed that the conditions like increasedmoisture, moderate temperature, granulation and presence of ash and nitrogen inhoney encourage the fermentation. He observed that the yeast act upon thesugars, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. In presence of oxygen, thealcohol is converted into acetic acid. Tysset and Rousseau (1981) observed thatSaccharomyces sp. Represents thedominant yeast in honey. Poncini (1986) recommended methods like sterilizationof equipment, quick and proper sealing to prevent the fermentation in honey byyeast, which is generally present in the honey. Pisarnitskii et al (1988) gave the method forestimating glucose and/or fructose in juices, syrups, and honey fermentationproducts.
Pons and Schutze (1994) on line monitored the volatilecompounds, like ethanol, acetaldehyde and fused alcohol in honey fermentationand observed different nitrogen sources, supplementing substances like fruitjuices, cane molasses, pollen etc. in the production of honey wine and honeybeer. Snowdon and Cliver (1996) acknowledged about the sources ofmicroorganisms in honey. Primary sources are nectar, bees, hives, pollens,flowers, soil etc. and microorganisms are yeast, mold, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Psychrobacter, Bacillus, Clostridium,Corynebacterium, etc. Secondary sources are human, equipment, containers,wind, dust, water and insects.
Papoff etal (1966) fermented honey with the water content of 17.4% and 21.2% andobserved the time required for completion of fermentation in both cases.
Ilha et al (2000) utilized the bee (Apis mellfera) honey for vinegarfermentation.