Abstract: In this work, 7 Spanish honeys with different botanical origins were studied. The honey origins were rosemary, chestnut, lavender, echium, thyme, multifloral, and honeydew. The chemical compounds determined were ascorbic acid (vitamin C), hydroxymethylfurfural, and major sugar contents (glucose and fructose). The physicochemical parameters, pH, conductivity, moisture, free acidity, and color, were also measured. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant in food, and the possibility to use it as discriminate parameter among different honeys was studied. The determination of vitamin C in honey samples was carried out by 2 different methods, volumetric and chromatographic comparing the results by both statistically. Vitamin C content was higher in thyme honeys than in the other types; however a wide dispersion in the values was found. Through a linear discriminant analysis (LDA), conductivity, glucose, fructose, and vitamin C content were the most important discriminant parameters.
Practical Application: Vitamin C content in different honey sources has been determined by a simple and rapid chromatographic method (less than 3 min) in honeys from 6 botanical origins. The results together with glucose and fructose content and some physicochemical parameters have been studied in order to discriminate the botanical origin of honeys and in the future certified their quality. A statistical LDA was applied to the data, and differentiation of honey sources was possible with very good agreement. The vitamin C content found in thymus honeys was significantly higher than in other types. This fact makes vitamin C a special marker for thymus honeys that have a higher antioxidant effect than the others giving it special properties. The identification of honey sources is essential for beekeepers in order to certify honeys for consumers.