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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The R-Values of Honey: Pollen Coefficients

Authors
item Bryant, Vaughn - TAMU, PALYNOLOGY LAB
item Jones, Gretchen

Submitted to: Palynology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 8, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Some types of honey command higher prices than other types because of the sources of nectar. Identification of pollen found in honey indicates the plants from which honeybees obtained the nectar to make honey. Proof that a honey is a preferred type is often difficult because many preferred types come from the nectar of plants that do not produce much pollen. We developed a revised pollen index that will help confirm types of honey. This information will help assure consumers of the actual type of honey being sold.

Technical Abstract: One of the goals of melissopalynology is to determine the floral sources utilized by honeybees in the production of honey. Because some types of commercial honey are preferred over others, the preferred types are in high demand and are sold at much higher prices. Verification of these preferred (premium) types of honey is often difficult because many of them come from plant sources that are either weak pollen producers or have pollen that is under-represented in honey. In an effort to verify these premium honey types, researchers developed various methods for correcting the pollen data. These methods produce what are known as pollen coefficient (PC) values. Pollen coefficient values are used to verify honey types produced from floral sources that are over or under- represented in the relative pollen counts of a honey sample. We examine the historical development of PC values, the reliability of PC data, the flaws inherent in the development of various types of PC data, and the steps needed to formulate new types of PC values that would become universally accepted for the verification of honey types.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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