Carbon and nitrogen natural stable isotopes in Slovene honey: adulteration and botanical and geographical aspects

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Dec 22;58(24):12794-803. doi: 10.1021/jf102940s. Epub 2010 Nov 18.


Isotope parameters (δ(13)C(honey), δ(13)C(protein), δ(15)N) were determined for 271 honey samples of 7 types (black locust, multifloral, lime, chestnut, forest, spruce, and fir honeys) from 4 natural geographical regions of Slovenia. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios were measured to elucidate the applicability of this method in the identification of the botanical and geographical origin of honey and in honey adulteration. Only 2.2% of the samples were adulterated according to the internal standard carbon isotope ratio analysis method. Botanical origin did not have any major influence on the honey isotope profiles; only black locust honey showed higher δ(13)C values. Some differences were seen across different production years, indicating that the influence of season should be further tested. Statistical and multivariate analyses demonstrated differences among honeys of various geographical origins. Those from the Alpine region had low δ(13)C (-26.0‰) and δ(15)N values (1.1‰); those from the Mediterranean region, high δ(13)C (-24.6‰) and medium δ(15)N values (2.2‰); those from the Pannonian region, medium δ(13)C (-25.6‰) and high δ(15)N value (3.0‰); and those from the Dinaric region, medium δ(13)C (-25.7‰) and low δ(15)N values (1.4‰).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Isotopes / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Honey / analysis*
  • Honey / standards
  • Nitrogen Isotopes / analysis*
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Quality Control
  • Slovenia


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Nitrogen Isotopes