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Keywords:

  • crystallization;
  • fructose;
  • glucose monohydrate;
  • honey;
  • viscosity

Abstract

 Crystallization must occur in honey in order to produce set or creamed honey; however, the process must occur in a controlled manner in order to obtain an acceptable product. As a consequence, reliable methods are needed to measure the crystal content of honey (ϕ expressed as kg crystal per kg honey), which can also be implemented with relative ease in industrial production facilities. Unfortunately, suitable methods do not currently exist. This article reports on the development of 2 independent offline methods to measure the crystal content in honey based on differential scanning calorimetry and high-performance liquid chromatography. The 2 methods gave highly consistent results on the basis of paired t-test involving 143 experimental points (P > 0.05, r2 = 0.99). The crystal content also correlated with the relative viscosity, defined as the ratio of the viscosity of crystal containing honey to that of the same honey when all crystals are dissolved, giving the following correlation: inline image. This correlation can be used to estimate the crystal content of honey in industrial production facilities. The crystal growth rate at a temperature of 14 °C—the normal crystallization temperature used in practice—was linear, and the growth rate also increased with the total glucose content in the honey.

Practical Application

 Based on this work, the crystal content of honey can be measured with ease and accuracy using either differential scanning calorimetry or high-performance liquid chromatography. Further, the correlation between crystal content and relative viscosity of honey can be used to estimate the crystal content by simply measuring honey viscosity. The methods can also be used to monitor the propensity of honeys to crystallize.