Characterization, chemometric evaluation, and human health-related aspects of essential and toxic elements in Italian honey samples by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016 Dec;23(24):25374-25384. doi: 10.1007/s11356-016-7662-5. Epub 2016 Oct 1.


Concentration values of 24 elements (Al, As, Ba, Be, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ge, Hg, Mn, Mo, Pb, Sb, Se, Sn, Sr, Ti, Tl, U, V, and Zn) were determined in 72 honey samples produced in Italy by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Considering the recommended established heavy metal daily intakes for humans, in this perspective, an equilibrated and ordinary honey consumption should not be considered matter of concerns for human health, even if particular attention should be addressed if honey is consumed by children, due to different maximum daily heavy metal intakes. Chemometric analysis of the results obtained highlights heavy metal content differences in honey samples obtained from notoriously polluted zones, confirming then that honey can be considered a bio-indicator of environmental pollution. Finally, Pearson coefficients highlighted correlations among element contents in honey samples.

Keywords: Chemometric analysis; Environmental bio-monitoring; Food safety; Heavy metals; Honey; ICP-MS.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Pollutants / chemistry
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Honey / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Metals, Heavy / chemistry*
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity*
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Trace Elements / analysis


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Trace Elements