Portuguese bee pollen: palynological study, nutritional and microbiological evaluation

Authors

  • Leticia M. Estevinho,

    Corresponding author
    1.  CIMO-Mountain Research Center. Agricultural College of Bragança, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Campus Santa Apolónia, E 5301-855, Bragança, Portugal
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  • Sandra Rodrigues,

    1.  CIMO-Mountain Research Center. Agricultural College of Bragança, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Campus Santa Apolónia, E 5301-855, Bragança, Portugal
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  • Ana P. Pereira,

    1.  CIMO-Mountain Research Center. Agricultural College of Bragança, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Campus Santa Apolónia, E 5301-855, Bragança, Portugal
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  • Xesús Feás

    1.  Departamento de Química Orgánica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, E-27002 Lugo, Spain
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E-mail: leticia@ipb.pt

Summary

Bee pollen is one of the richest and purest natural foods, used in the folk medicine, clinical practices, and food and pharmaceutical industries. This work aims to characterise, for the first time in Portugal, the palynological origin, nutritional value and microbiological safety of this beehive product. It identified ten botanical families, and the more frequent were Boraginaceae and Ericaceae. We have evaluated the water content, aw, pH, reducing sugars, ash, carbohydrate, proteins, lipids, fatty acids and energy. The microorganisms studied were the aerobic mesophiles, moulds and yeasts, faecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and sulphite-reducing clostridia. The studied pollens are nutritionally well balanced, and contain high levels of moisture, proteins, fat, energy, ash, carbohydrates, reducing sugars, essential n-3 fatty acids and good ratios of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)/saturated fatty acids. In fact, the PUFA represent 66% of the total fatty acids. The samples had good microbiological quality, as none of the samples had toxigenic species.

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