Friday, June 20, 2008

Royal Jelly Market and Research in Japan

Presented by Mitsuo Matsuka, chairman of the Japan Royal Jelly Fair Trade Council, at APIMEDICA and APIQUALITY 2008 in Rome.


The royal jelly market was opened by imports from France and Germany and soon domestic production followed. One hundred kg production was reported in 1959 and increased rapidly thereafter. The first gross import (340 kg) came from Taiwan in 1967. Yoshida and Matsuka (1983) reported these events at the 29th Apimondia Congress in Budapest. At that time, domestic production was 17.6t and 170t was from abroad (mainly from China). After that, consumption continuously increased, supported by the health conscious tendencies of Japanese people, reaching 806t in 2006 (95.6% from China) including 3t of domestic product.


Related enterprises organized an association to pursue fair trade services in 1975, which set rules of management and quality in 1979. After several years of practical management, the Japan Royal Jelly Fair Trade Council became an authorized corporation in 1987 by the Japan Fair Trade Commission. After 20 years more than 300 enterprises joined the council in 2008, which sets rules for fair trading, labels and standards of products. Current quality standards for raw royal jelly are as follows after several amendments according to technical developments for analysis. Standards for dried and preparatory products are also described.

Water contents (62.5 – 68.5%)
Crude protein (12.0 – 15.5%)
10-OH-2-decenoic acid (more than 1.40%)
Acidity (32.0 – 53.0 ml mol/L alkaline solution per 100g)
Bacterial number (less than 500 perg)
Eschericia should be negative

Since ca. 95% royal jelly is imported from China, the council has cooperated with the Chinese government to make a guideline for production and quality control of royal jelly. Processes will be reported and discussed at the 9th Asian Apicultural Association Conference in November (2008) in Zhejiang, China.


The initial stage of royal jelly research in Japan was presented in 1985 by several authors at the 30th Apimondia Congress on chemical, pharmaceutical, and bactericidal effects, as well as quality control of the products. The Fair Trade Council has supported royal jelly research related to dietary effects by representative investigators since 1983. Among these, recent themes are on anti-tumor activity, antioxidative peptides, neurotrophic effect, effect on ulcerative colitis, function of decenoic acid, etc. The council has also held symposia and lectures for the public time to time. The council has compiled 239 related references by the occasion of the 20th anniversary (2007) to be analyzed.

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