Honey: Chemical composition, stability and authenticity

Food Chem. 2016 Apr 1:196:309-23. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.09.051. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


The aim of this review is to describe the chemical characteristics of compounds present in honey, their stability when heated or stored for long periods of time and the parameters of identity and quality. Therefore, the chemical characteristics of these compounds were examined, such as sugars, proteins, amino acids, enzymes, organic acids, vitamins, minerals, phenolic and volatile compounds present in honey. The stability of these compounds in relation to the chemical reactions that occur by heating or prolonged storage were also discussed, with increased understanding of the behavior regarding the common processing of honey that may compromise its quality. In addition, the identity and quality standards were described, such as sugars, moisture, acidity, ash and electrical conductivity, color, 5-HMF and diastase activity, along with the minimum and maximum limits established by the Codex Alimentarius.

Keywords: Authenticity; Chemical transformation; Degradation; Furan compounds; Honey; Maillard reaction; Parameters of identity and quality; Stability; Volatile compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Honey / analysis*
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds


  • Phenols
  • Volatile Organic Compounds