Member’s update – February 2014

Manuka ID Project

 The UMF Honey Association is engaged in verification of the Manuka ID with overseas researchers. One of these is Dr Peter Brooks of the University of the Sunshine Coast, who is assisting with this along with a discovery of bio-actives in Kanuka.

The questions that the USC is looking to answer with this research are:

  1. Do mono-floral honeys from New Zealand have a phenolic and flavonoid profile that is pre-determined by their botanical origin?
  2. Can the phenolic and flavonoid profiles be used in authenticating the botanical origins of New Zealand honeys?

Verification will also be completed using the Association’s network of leading international laboratories. This includes labs in China, Japan, Singapore and the UK.

science persons

Dr Peter Brooks and PhD student Danny Meloncelli

Aims of the USC research:

  1. To profile the isolated phenolic and flavonoid compounds from a range of New Zealand honeys
  2. To identify biomarkers in high purity New Zealand honeys to authenticate floral source

Some work has already been done towards these aims using a range of commercial samples, but to confirm and enhance this work the samples from the Manuka ID Project collection are required.

Why is this research so important?

 Dr Peter Brooks of USC stated that “Australian Leptospermum pollen, Tasmanian Manuka, Jellybush and the other 80 varieties in Australia are indistinguishable from NZ Manuka. If pollen is the only defining attribute, then all Australian Leptospermum could one day be called Manuka.”

Using pollen analysis to identify floral origin will only lead to more honeys being passed off as Manuka. This will restrict the industry from being able to take advantage of the unique qualities of all New Zealand honey varieties. This project is vital to ensure that the attributes of honeys such as Kanuka and Rewarewa are fully recognised and protected.