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  • A novel approach for honey pollen profile assessment using an electronic tongue and chemometric tools.

A novel approach for honey pollen profile assessment using an electronic tongue and chemometric tools.

Analytica chimica acta (2015-11-18)
Luís G Dias, Ana C A Veloso, Mara E B C Sousa, Letícia Estevinho, Adélio A S C Machado, António M Peres
ABSTRACT

Nowadays the main honey producing countries require accurate labeling of honey before commercialization, including floral classification. Traditionally, this classification is made by melissopalynology analysis, an accurate but time-consuming task requiring laborious sample pre-treatment and high-skilled technicians. In this work the potential use of a potentiometric electronic tongue for pollinic assessment is evaluated, using monofloral and polyfloral honeys. The results showed that after splitting honeys according to color (white, amber and dark), the novel methodology enabled quantifying the relative percentage of the main pollens (Castanea sp., Echium sp., Erica sp., Eucaliptus sp., Lavandula sp., Prunus sp., Rubus sp. and Trifolium sp.). Multiple linear regression models were established for each type of pollen, based on the best sensors' sub-sets selected using the simulated annealing algorithm. To minimize the overfitting risk, a repeated K-fold cross-validation procedure was implemented, ensuring that at least 10-20% of the honeys were used for internal validation. With this approach, a minimum average determination coefficient of 0.91 ± 0.15 was obtained. Also, the proposed technique enabled the correct classification of 92% and 100% of monofloral and polyfloral honeys, respectively. The quite satisfactory performance of the novel procedure for quantifying the relative pollen frequency may envisage its applicability for honey labeling and geographical origin identification. Nevertheless, this approach is not a full alternative to the traditional melissopalynologic analysis; it may be seen as a practical complementary tool for preliminary honey floral classification, leaving only problematic cases for pollinic evaluation.

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