Free Phenolic Acids in Honey

Free Phenolic Acids in Honey



Kelulut honey produced by stingless bees, a small-sized bees. Kelulut bees will usually build nests in the roots or stumps in the ground. The color of stingless bee honey is usually more light and clear compared to normal honey and it has sweet and taste. The quantity of honey collected from each nest harvesting is also lower compared to normal bee hive.

Phenolic acids, hydroxy-cinnamic and phenolic stilbene are one of the common materials found in plants and human food. Phenolic acid accounted for one-third of the total phenolic compounds in food. Generally, these materials can be divided into two classes which are hydroxy benzoic acid and hydroxy cinnamic acid. Phenolic acids in plants can exist in either free or bound form. The quantity of phenolic acids bound tend to be higher than the free phenolic acids. However, the free phenolic acid is more easily absorbed in the human body. Phenolic acids can also act as an anti-cancer, asthma and antitumor.

There are seven types of free phenolic substances identified in stingless honey (Figure 1). The presence of various types of phenolic acids in kelulut honey may indicate that it has various properties. P-koumarik acid for example, has the highest antioxidant activity, followed by protokaechuik and vanilik acid. P-koumarik acids are believed to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by reducing the formation of nitrosamines (carcinogens).


Fenilpropanoik acid which is a key ingredient of kelulut honey may reduce the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). COX-2 enzyme plays an important role in the formation of inflammation during the development of large cancerous. This compound is also effective in lowering cholesterol levels in plasma and liver and also lowering triglycerides in the blood.


In conclusion, kelulut honey contains a wide range of nutritious ingredients that may provide benefits to its users.


Analysis of kelulut honey extracts were performed using gas chromatography mass spectrometry instrument (GCMS) showed the presence of various types of phenolic acids (antioxidant ingredients concise). The phenolic compounds that have been identified are benzoic acid, phenylpropanoic, 4-hydroksibenzoic acid, 4-hydroxyphenyl acetic acid, vanilic acid, protokatechuic acid and p-coumaric acid. Previous studies have reported that phenolic acid showed various properties such as lowering blood cholesterol, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer.


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