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PARC as a pioneer in the field of apiculture, adulteration of honey can always be prevented through research & development activities: Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali

Islamabad: One day workshop for honey industry partners on “Optical techniques for the characterization and adulteration of Sidr honey” In Collaboration with National Institute of Lasers and Optronics (NILOP), NILORE  at Community center NARC Under ALP Project entitled “Superior Quality Honeybee Queens production through Non-Traditional Techniques”, Honey Bee Research Institute(HBRI), NARC on Dated 9.12.2021. Chaired by Chairman, PARC, Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali Along with Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad, Member, NRD, PARC, DG, NARC were present.  Nilore team was headed by Dr. Muhammad Saleem, Deputy Chief Scientist, Dr. Hina Ali, and Dr. Bilal. Around 35-40 Honey exporters, traders and beekeepers participated.

Chairman PARC said that being pioneer in Apiculture sector PARC always tried its best to uplift the sector by research and development activities. The coordination research work of PARC with R & D organizations always brought fruit results for the stake holders. The Optical portable device Fluorometer, being developed in collaboration with National Institute of Lasers and Optronics (NILOP), NILORE is an innovative technology and also need of time, as its new and modern techniques to be used for identification of honey. In order to enhance the honey export from Pakistan such value-able techniques for monitoring the honey quality assurance are vital.

Sidr honey is known for its medicinal value and is made from the nectar of the ber (sidr) flowers of Ziziphus species. The fruit from different species of Ziziphus tree contains biologically active compounds like phenolics, flavonoids, triterpenic acids, vitamin C and polysaccharides which act as antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiobesity, hepatoprotective, immune stimulating and gastrointestinal protective. Botanical/geographical origin and physiochemical properties of the honey were studied previously with different methods like microscopy, and others have been used but most of them are costly, time consuming and generally not available in many situations. Alternatively, Fluorescence Spectroscopy arose as an emerging and non-destructive green technique after extensive research for quick identification of fluorophores present in the food.

Sidr honey is vulnerable to adulteration with low grade honey and sugar syrups, which compromise it’s nutritional and medicinal value, demanding fast and reliable analytical tools for quality assessment. Fluorescence spectroscopy in tandem with Chemometrics could potentially be used as a rapid analytical tool to identify Sidr honey and its sugar adulteration.

Chairman PARC concluded that this workshop will bring some fruitful out comes for the industry partners in order to sort out the issues of quality honey testing in the country. He also appreciates the joint team work research effort by NILOP and HBRI scientists for developing these optical techniques for honey adulteration.

(Atiq ul Hassan Qureshi)
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