Analysis of aflatoxins, caffeine, nicotine and heavy metals in Palestinian multifloral honey from different geographic regions

Authors


Correspondence to: Khalid M Swaileh, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, Birzeit University, PO Box 14, Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine. E-mail: kswaileh@birzeit.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Honey is a healthy and nutritious natural product. However, it may contain some natural as well as anthropogenic contaminants that can affect consumer health. The present study was aimed at analysing the content of aflatoxins, nicotine, caffeine and heavy metals in Palestinian multifloral honey.

RESULTS

The results indicated the presence of variable amounts of aflatoxins (0.5–22 µg kg−1, mean 12.1 µg kg−1) in all samples analysed, with the highest levels in honey from humid hot semi-coastal regions. Caffeine was found in 80% of honey samples analysed at levels from 94 to 3583 µg kg−1 (mean 1567 µg kg−1). High levels were recorded in regions where citrus cultivation is common. Nicotine was detected in 67% of honey samples analysed at concentrations between 178 and 9389 µg kg−1 (mean 1567 µg kg−1). High levels were recorded in honey samples from the Northwest Plains where tobacco plantation is practised. Cd and Pb levels in all honey samples were below detection limits, while levels of other toxic metals were generally low.

CONCLUSIONS

All honey samples contained aflatoxins, mostly in health-threatening concentrations. Caffeine and nicotine were recorded in 80 and 67% of honey samples respectively. Heavy metal levels were generally low.

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