Tophoney | ENHANCING THE QUALITY ATTRIBUTES OF PROCESSED HONEY AND AVOIDING ITS CRYSTALLISATION BY THE APPLICATION OF A NON-THERMAL TREATMENT PROCESS

OVERALL SUMMARY


Crystallised honey is granular, opaque and highly viscous. Crystallisation is a natural phenomenon, and usually takes place within a few weeks after extracting the honey from the honeycomb: however most consumers prefer clear liquid honey. Crystallization arises due to the presence of glucose micro-crystals and air bubbles in the honey. Commercial honey processing currently uses pasteurization equipment (often with a vacuum applied) to flash-heat the honey to dissolve the micro-crystals and remove air bubbles, and thus delay crystallization to 12 months post-processing.

However, pasteurisation heats the honey to around 80 ºC, which degrades the heat sensitive components of honey: primarily the diastase and invertase enzymes, and also raises HMF content (a honey quality parameter, subject to international standard limits). To address the needs identified by project SME-AGs, the TOPHONEY project will develop a novel honey processing system, based on non-thermal alternatives, to delay the onset of crystallisation, whilst preserving the natural quality attributes of the unprocessed honey. SME-AG members plan to exploit these benefits to sell their honey at a premium price, and also overcome yield limitations of vacuum pasteurisation methods.