Two-Year Variations of Phenolics, Flavonoids and Antioxidant Contents in Acacia Honey
Molecules 2013, 18(12), 14694-14710; doi:10.3390/molecules181214694
Honey is a good source of several important chemical compounds and antioxidants and is harvested throughout the year. However, no study has determined how their contents change over the years. The aim of the present research was to investigate the changes in the phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidant properties, as well as other physicochemical properties, of Malaysian acacia honey collected during different months during a two year period.
The DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) and FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power) methods were used to determine the total antioxidant activity of the honey samples. Generally, honey samples collected in the beginning and the middle of the year tended to have higher sugar content, which may be attributed to its high acidic nature and low moisture content. There was a gradual increase in the phenolic content of the acacia honey samples collected between September 2010 and December 2010. The honey sample collected at the beginning of the year (January) showed the highest color intensity and was dark amber in color. It also contained the highest concentration of phenolic compounds (341.67 ± 2.94 mggallic acid/kg), the highest flavonoid content (113.06 ± 6.18 mgcatechin/kg) andthe highest percentage of DPPH inhibition and the highest FRAP value, confirming its high antioxidant potential. There was a positive correlation between DPPH and total phenolic content, suggesting that phenolic compounds are the strongest contributing factor to the radical scavenging activity of Malaysian acacia honeys.
Overall, our results indicated that there were significant seasonal variations in the antioxidant potentials of honey over the two year period and the time of honey collection affects its physicochemical properties. Therefore, acacia honey from Malaysia should ideally be collected during the dry season, particularly in the months of January, May and June.