Newswise — Montesinho Natural Park (MNP) is celebrated for its diverse flora and unique climate, creating an ideal environment for producing honey with distinctive attributes. With the demand for natural products and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) honey on the rise, understanding the nuances that contribute to honey quality becomes paramount.

Published in the prestigious Food Quality and Safety journal on March 11, 2024, a new study (DOI: 10.1093/fqsafe/fyae015) by researchers from REQUIMTE/LAQV and Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto offers a comprehensive analysis of various honey samples from MNP. The study reveals that the honey consistently meets quality and regulatory standards.

The study conducted a thorough analysis of 13 honey samples from diverse apiaries. Employing sophisticated techniques, researchers assessed crucial physicochemical and nutritional variables, such as moisture, ash content, acidity, electrical conductivity, proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals. Additionally, they looked into specific indicators like 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, diastase activity, and color. Across the board, the honey demonstrated remarkable uniformity in quality, consistently adhering to or surpassing the rigorous criteria set by honey regulations. Notably, the study found that the honey's excellence was unaffected by MNP's varying geographical terrains, indicating a minimal impact of location on its key qualities. The uniformity in quality across different apiaries within MNP confirmed the honey's compliance with legislative standards and its alignment with established quality benchmarks, showcasing MNP honey's adherence to its esteemed PDO status.

Professor Cristina Delerue-Matos, a leading authority in food quality and one of the study’s principal investigators, emphasized the importance of this research: "Our findings not only confirm the superior quality of MNP honey but also highlight the negligible impact of geographical variations within the park on its physicochemical properties. This underscores the park's unique biodiversity and the consistent practices of local beekeepers in maintaining honey quality."

This research not only reinforces the prestigious PDO status of MNP honey but also illuminates the path for future studies aimed at preserving the legacy and integrity of honey production in natural reserves amidst changing environmental conditions.





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Funding information

S. Soares and M. Moreira thank FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) for funding through the Scientific Employment Stimulus—Individual Call (CEECIND/00588/2022 and CEECIND/02702/2017, respectively). The authors also thank the project SYSTEMIC “an integrated approach to the challenge of sustainable food systems: adaptive and mitigatory strategies to address climate change and malnutrition”.

About Food Quality and Safety (FQS)

Food Quality and Safety (FQS) is an open access, international, peer-reviewed journal providing a platform to highlight emerging and innovative science and technology in the agro-food field, publishing up-to-date research in the areas of food quality, food safety, food nutrition and human health. It is covered by SCI-E and the 2022 Impact Factor (IF)=5.6, 5-yr IF=6.2.

Journal Link: Food Quality and Safety, March 2024

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Food Quality and Safety, March 2024

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