- Manuka Honey is made up of several compounds that are found only in the honey from New Zealand's native manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium)
- One of the most dominant compounds is Leptosperin
- Leptosperin is a good indicator of the "manukaness" of honey
- Leptosperin gives consumers a means of knowing which honey is genuine Manuka Honey
Manuka Identification Project - The Discovery of Leptosperin
A ground-breaking Manuka Identification Project (2014-2016) carried out by the UMF Honey Association has shown each floral type of honey has its own chemical fingerprint and identity ensuring consumers a means of knowing which honey is real genuine manuka honey.
In this project samples of nectar were taken directly from the manuka flower and samples of manuka honey were taken from the hive. Samples were taken from many places and regions across the whole of New Zealand.
The samples were analysed for their chemical composition and then compared to see if there were any compounds present in both the flower nectar and in the honey. These compounds were then analysed to see if any were present only in manuka honey and not in any other honey.
The Manuka Identification Project found manuka honey is complex, being made up of a multitude of components some of which are not found in any other floral type of honey. The Manuka ID Project has identified a number of potentially worthwhile chemical markers, and has focused on four of these to develop scientifically-based classification criteria for Manuka honey that will give confidence to consumers who want to purchase quality authentic Manuka honey.
One of the four key marker compounds of Manuka Honey is Leptosperin.
- Leptosperin is one of the four most dominant marker compounds in Manuka Honey
- Leptosperin is present only in the nectar of the flower of the manuka plant (Leptospermum scoparium).
- Leptosperin's unique presence in the nectar from the manuka flower proves that if it is present in honey then the honey can only be derived from manuka plants.
- Leptosperin is abundant in Manuka Honey. The comparatively high levels of Leptosperin found in manuka honey make it straightforward to test for.
- Leptosperin is relatively stable. In stability trials samples were incubated at 21, 27 and 34 degrees Celsius. Leptosperin shows little degradation over time, whereas methyglyoxal is not stable and shows a dramatic change and increase then decrease.
- It is difficult to synthesise Leptosperin and thus less likely to be used in any adulteration.
- Preliminary research indicates that Leptosperin may be bioactive. Work being done on this by Dr Peter Brooks and Daniel Meloncelli of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Click here for more about Leptosperin testing as a means to identify genuine Manuka Honey
There are a number of respected peer-reviewed scientific publications on Leptosperin from Professor Kato and Professor Karl Speer.
- Identification of Manuka Honey. Plausible authentication of manuka honey and related products by measuring leptosperin with methyl syringate. Kato Y, Fujinaka R, Ishisaka A, Nitta Y, Kitamoto N, Takimoto Y. (2014). J Agric Food Chem., 62(27), 6400-7. doi: 10.1021/jf501475h.
- Authentication of Manuka Honey. Immunochemical authentication of manuka honey using a monoclonal antibody specific to a glycoside of methyl syringate. Kato Y, Araki Y, Juri M, Fujinaka R, Ishisaka A, Kitamoto N, Nitta Y, Niwa T, Takimoto Y. (2014). J Agric Food Chem., 62(44), 10672-8. doi: 10.1021/jf503464a
- Differentiation of Manuka Honey from Kanuka honey and Jelly Bush Honey. Differentiation of Manuka Honey from Kanuka Honey and from Jelly Bush Honey using HS-SPME-GC/MS and UHPLC-PDA-MS/MS. Beitlich, N., Koelling-Speer, I., Oelschlaegel, S., and Speer, K. (2014). J Agric Food Chem, 62(27), 6435-6444. doi: 10.1021/jf501818f
- Identification of Leptosperin. Identification of a Novel Glycoside, Leptosin, as a Chemical Marker of Manuka Honey. Yoji Kato, Natsuki Umeda, Asuna Maeda, Daiki Matsumoto, Noritoshi Kitamoto, Hiroe Kikuzaki. (March 2012). J.Agric Food Chem pp1-25. doi: 10.1021/jf300068w
UMF - The Consumer's Guarantee. The quality trademark UMF and its level clearly displayed on the front label identifies manuka honey that has the markers unique to manuka honey.
SummerGlow Apiaries specialise in very high grade UMF16+ Manuka Honey:
- Guaranteed superior UMF16+
- Absolutely genuine Manuka Honey. Very high Leptosperin level 936
- 100% pure natural honey sourced from the remote unspoilt areas of NZ.
- Top quality handling. Packed with greatest care to a very high standard ensuring all the natural properties are retained.
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