Honey bees are the little buzzing creatures that are beneficial for us in a lot of ways. They pollinate our food crops, provide us honey and are essential for maintaining the ecological balance. There is a wide variety of honey bee species found throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
European honey bees, which are found in large populations, produce significantly more honey and are the world's major honey production species. Stingless honey bee species, which are different from the previous ones, are highly prized as specialty food and are noted in Indigenous cultures for their curative properties.
Stingless honey bees are in the news recently because of the origination of rare and healthy sugar found in the honey produced by these bees. But, what is the secret behind it?
The secret of what makes the uncommon, healthy sugar found in stingless bee honey has been addressed by researchers at The University of Queensland, as a team with Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services.
It was mainly the sugar trehalose. It is produced in the gut of bees and is a significant segment in food, and is not found in other types of honey. No segment in other food - is created in the gut of the honey bees.
UQ organic chemist and research pioneer Dr. Natasha Hungerford said the beginning of this rare sugar had been a riddle since the revelation of significant degrees of sugar trehalose in stingless bee honey.
"We couldn't say whether the trehalose was coming from an outer source - maybe from local flora," Dr. Hungerford said.
"It might have been something in the pitch from trees that stingless honey bees gather and bring home - on the grounds that dissimilar to European honey bees, which store their nectar in a honeycomb made distinctly from beeswax, stingless honey bees store their nectar in little pots produced using a blend of beeswax and tree gums."
However, stingless bee honey, which is profoundly valued as a claim to specialty food, is noted in Indigenous societies for its therapeutic properties and draws in a high cost.
"Trehalulose is all the more slowly processed, and there isn't the unexpected spike in blood glucose that you get from different sugars," Dr. Hungerford said.
She said the UQ group was quick to decide whether the trehalose content in stingless bee honey could be expanded, possibly making stingless bee honey more important.
"We took care of restricted settlements of the Australian stingless honey bee Tetragonula carbonara, the most well-known sugars found in bloom nectar - sucrose, glucose and fructose.
"What we found is that stingless honey bees have a remarkable ability to change sucrose over to trehalose and create honey rich in trehalose in their gut."
Local plants, for example, Grevillea and Banksia, are accepted to have nectar high in sucrose, and it is accepted honey bees taking care of these plants will normally produce honey rich in trehalose.
The group additionally tracked down that stingless honey bees took care that an answer containing table sugar could change over it into honey containing undeniable degrees of trehalose.
"In any case, the honey they produce from table sugar doesn't meet the necessities of genuine stingless bee honey, which is produced using nectar," Dr. Hungerford said.
The honey we produced in the lab is indeed fake honey, and we had the option to recognize it from normal honey by isotopic testing. This trehalose-rich syrup that was delivered may be viewed as a possible optional result of stingless honey bees; however, it isn't honey.
Nectar contains a complex range of phytochemicals from nectar, making it crucially significant for brood raising and the development of the bee colony populace."
The UQ group will currently attempt to distinguish diverse green harvests that have nectar high in sucrose.
"We need to examine the nectar sugars present in harvests like macadamia, lychee and avocado, and regardless of whether stingless honey bee fertilization of these yields could bring about a significant degree of trehalose in their nectar," Dr. Hungerford said.
According to Mr. B A Barry, CEO & founder of Geohoney, more such interesting research is needed in this field to help people understand more about the lives of these helpful buzzing insects and the immense benefits of honey produced by them.