Elemental Composition of Different Slovenian Honeys Using k0- Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis

J AOAC Int. 2017 Jul 1;100(4):871-880. doi: 10.5740/jaoacint.17-0146. Epub 2017 May 23.


The botanical origin of seven types of Slovenian honey was investigated by analysis of their elemental content using k0-instrumental neutron activation analysis. A total of 28 representative samples were collected from beekeepers all over Slovenia in 2 consecutive years. Nineteen of the 37 elements measured were present in amounts above their LOD. The present study suggests that the determination of only alkali elements might be sufficient for the classification of Slovenian honeys according to their botanical origin. Linden and multifloral honeys can be differentiated on the basis of Na content. The differentiation of forest, spruce, and fir honeys is possible on the basis of differences in Cs, K, and Rb content. The difference between Na and Rb content can be used as a discriminating tool between light and dark honeys, because light honeys (black locust, linden, and multifloral) contained more Na than Rb, whereas it was the opposite for dark honeys (chestnut, forest, spruce, and fir). Statistically significant correlations were found between K and Rb and between K and Cs content. This study represents a considerable step in filling the knowledge gap concerning both the determination of elements present in low concentrations and the botanical origin of Slovenian honey.

MeSH terms

  • Honey / analysis*
  • Neutron Activation Analysis*
  • Slovenia