The viscous and sugary nature of honey makes it a difficult substance for quantitative trace elemental analysis.
And strict EU regulations mean that manufacturers must know what is in their products and label them correctly, as contamination with other ingredients can lead to expensive recalls, fines and even law suits.
Thermo Fisher said that the approach demonstrates how flame and graphite furnace absorption spectrometry can be enable speedier detection and greater efficiency in costs.
A spokesperson for the analytical instrument supplier said that the new method has been developed on data from the Indian honey market.
“This method is likely to be significantly faster [than the industry standard] as microwave digestion has been used as the sample preparation method,” the spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks.com
The company added that its iCE 3500 atomic absorption spectrometer is a robust, reliable method for analysis of trace elements in honey as it enables rapid switching between flame and furnace methods without user intervention.
This factor, continued Thermo Fisher, results in improved productivity for end users.
Honey is increasingly being used as an ingredient in food products such as baked goods, salad dressings, sauces, confectionery, dairy products, spreads, cereals meats, snacks and beverages.
In the EU, honey must adhere to composition criteria including sugar, moisture and hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content to ensure the quality and safety of products, and must not contain any elements that can pose health risks.
In addition, said Thermo Fisher, honey from certain geographical regions or botanical sources can merit higher prices than others and checking the product’s authenticity is now a significant area of analytical testing.
The company, in further claims for its iCE 3500 spectrometer, said that its “advanced integrated furnace auto sampler also speeds up analysis by automatically preparing working standards from a single master standard and adds matrix modifiers to samples prior to analysis."
Moreover, by utilizing the system’s flame and furnace methods, users can undertake both high level and low level analyses on the same instrument, said Thermo Fisher.
"The flame sample introduction system is able to efficiently run dissolved honey samples without blockage or contamination, while the furnace system handles acid digested samples with ease,” added the supplier.
The new method The Analysis of Trace Elements in Honey by Flame and Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry can be read here.