The Composition, Physicochemical Properties, Antioxidant Activity, and Sensory Properties of Estonian Honeys.Foods. 2021 Mar 01; 10(3)F
Thirty honey samples from different regions of Estonia were investigated to determine the chemical compositions, physicochemical properties, bioactive compounds, and sensory characteristics of typical honeys from a northern climate. The physicochemical parameters, such as electrical conductivity, moisture content, free acidity, hydroxymethylfurfural, diastase, and invertase activity were measured. The color was measured and expressed by L*-, a*-, and b*-coordinates. Sensory parameters were determined by using "fruity", "floral", "berry-like", "herbal", "woody", "spicy", "sweet", and "animal-like" as the main odor and flavor attributes. The total polyphenol and flavonoid contents were in the range of 26.2-88.7 mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE) per 100 g and 1.9-6.4 mg quercetin equivalents (QE) per 100 g, respectively. The identified polyphenols showed the highest intensities of caffeic acid, coumaric acid, and abscisic acid and its derivatives. The protocatechuic acid intensity was highest in honeys containing traces of honeydew elements and of cinnamic acid and myricetin in heather honey. The water-soluble antioxidant values were 37.8-311.2 mg ascorbic acid equivalents (AAE) per 100 g and the lipid soluble antioxidant values were 14.4-60.7 mg Trolox equivalents (TE) per 100 g. The major amino acid in the analyzed honeys was proline, with variable values depending on the honey's botanical source. Correlations were calculated based on the results obtained. It was revealed that the typical Estonian honey has floral, berry-like, sweet, and rather mild sensory characteristics. Most of the honeys lacked stronger spicy, woody, and animal-like attributes. The typical color of Estonian honey is quite light.