Member’s update – January 2014

Welcome to the first member’s update of 2014! The Association has been hard at work over the holiday period on the Manuka ID project, making progress on this authentic reference collection of honey and nectar samples that will enable much future research on this unique product along with other monofloral honeys. It has been a challenging summer, however much progress has been made.

Manuka ID Project

Objectives:

  1. Authentic Manuka Honey Collection – The independent certified collection of authentic Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey.
  2. Create and implement techniques for collecting nectar and determining the relationship between the content of the nectar and honey derived from that nectar
  3. The collection of unripened nectar from the hive and the relationship between this and the honey derived from it
  4. The development of authentic hive collection processes, and the quantitative and qualitative verification back to the nectar and bee collection process.
  5. Other Endemic Mono-Floral Honey Species Collection – the independent certified collection of other mono-floral honey that are known to contaminate Manuka honey

One of these objectives, the collection of nectar from the Manuka bush in different locations, has almost been completed.

The testing of this nectar will enable us to establish a relationship between the composition of the nectar and the honey. This will allow for the development of accurate and definitive tests for the levels of Manuka and other monofloral types in a particular honey.  

The South Island Nectar Collection

These are some approximate sample locations of some of the South Island nectar collection. GPS coordinates were recorded for each location at the time of sampling.

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Nectar Sampling

Over Christmas, more than 4,500km were travelled throughout the South Island in search of Manuka nectar samples. The controlled collection of both nectar and honey for the Manuka ID Project is still ongoing, and the first set of results of the nectar testing at Analytica Laboratories should be available around the end of January.

Verification

Currently, the UMF Honey Association has secured its relationship with the University of the Sunshine Coast, one of the parties that will be conducting verification of the testing done on the honey samples.

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.