Tuberoso, Carlo I. G. and Bifulco, Ersilia and Jerković, Igor and Caboni, Pierluigi and Cabras, Paolo and Floris, Ignazio (2009) Methyl syringate: a chemical marker of asphodel (Asphodelus microcarpus Salzm. et Viv.) monofloral honey. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 57 (9), p. 3895-3900. eISSN 1520-5118. Article.
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During the liquid chromatographic study of the phenolic fraction of monofloral honeys was detected in the asphodel honey (Asphodelus microcarpus Salzm. et Viv.) chromatogram a distinctive peak not detected in other monofloral honeys such as Arbutus unedo L., Hedysarum coronarium, Eucalyptus spp., and Galactites tomentosa. After thin layer chromatography (TLC) purification and characterization by NMR and LC-MS/MS, the compound was identified as methyl syringate (MSYR) and confirmed against an original standard. Levels of MSYR were measured in honeys of 2005, 2006, and 2007 by HPLC-DAD analysis. Level determination of MSYR was repeated in 2008 for 2006 and 2007 honeys to evaluate chemical stability of this phenolic compound. Levels of MSYR measured 1 year after the sampling did not show significant statistical differences (p < 0.05). The stability of MSYR was also confirmed by 12 asphodel honey samples collected in 2005 that showed amounts of methyl syringate comparable with those found in fresh honey. For the evaluation of MSYR origin, samples of nectars were collected from flowers and the content of MSYR was measured. Levels of MSYR in honeys are originated from the nectar with an average contribution of the nectar to the honey of 80%. Melissopalinological analysis did not allow the attribution of the honey monofloral origin because levels of asphodel pollen were <6% for all analyzed samples. Previously reported levels of MSYR for robinia, rape, chestnut, clover, linden blossom, dandelion, sunflower, thyme, manuka, and fir honeys were <5 mg/kg. For this reason, a minimum level of 122.6 mg/kg for MSYR in asphodel honeys can be considered as a chemical marker and, unlike the melissopalynological analysis, can be used for the origin attribution and to evaluate the percent of asphodel nectar in the honey.
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