Commercial bee pollen with different geographical origins: a comprehensive approach

Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(9):11173-87. doi: 10.3390/ijms130911173. Epub 2012 Sep 7.


Since the primordial of humanity, pollen has been considered a good source of nutrients and energy. Its promising healing properties have also been referred to. The present study aimed to characterize, for the first time, eight commercial pollens from Portugal and Spain available on the market studying the legislation on labeling, pollinic origin, physicochemical and microbiological analyses and identification of yeasts. Eleven botanical families were found amongst the samples. The most abundant family and the most dominant pollen was Cistaceae. The moisture content, ash, a(w), pH, reducing sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and energy were analyzed and the specific parameters were within the specifications required by some countries with legislation regarding these parameters. Microbiologically commercial pollen showed acceptable safety for the commercial quality and hygiene. All samples showed negative results for toxigenic species. The microorganisms studied were aerobic mesophiles, yeasts and moulds, coliforms, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and sulfite-reducing Clostridium. During the work, six yeasts species were isolated from pollen, with Rhodotorula mucilaginosa being the most abundant, as it was present in four samples.

Keywords: bee pollen; labeling rules; microbiological characterization; physicochemical characterization; pollinic analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Dietary Supplements / microbiology
  • Food Labeling*
  • Pollen / chemistry*
  • Pollen / metabolism
  • Pollen / microbiology*
  • Yeasts / classification
  • Yeasts / isolation & purification