• forensic science;
  • honey DNA;
  • bee symbionts;
  • plants;
  • bacteria;
  • fungi

Abstract:  Consuming honey can result in adverse effects owing to poisoning by bacterial (botulism) or plant toxins. We have devised a method to extract polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplifiable DNA of up to c. 400 bp in length based on dialysis of a 15-mL honey sample for 18 h against deionized water followed by sequential extraction using phenol, phenol/chloroform/isoamyl alcohol, chloroform/isoamyl alcohol, and ether. Sequence analysis of PCR products obtained using “universal” plant, fungal, and bacterial primers targeted to the ribosomal RNA genes has allowed us to identify six different orders of plants (Apiales, Fabales, Asterales, Solanales, Brassicales, and Sapindales), two orders of fungi (Entylomatales and Saccharomycetales), and six orders of bacteria (Sphingomonadales, Burkholderiales, Pseudomonadales, Enterobacteriales, Actinomycetales, and Bifidobacteriales) in a single honey specimen.