Rapid, reliable and easy-to-perform chemometric-less method for rice syrup adulterated honey detection using FTIR-ATR

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The adulteration of honey (Apis mellifera) is a global problem due to its economic, commercial and health implications. The world's leading beekeeping organisation, APIMONDIA, considers that the detection of adulteration in honey is a problem that has not yet been resolved. This evidence of the importance of the intensive development of analytical techniques that allow the unequivocal detection of adulterants in honey, especially those whose use as honey adulterants has recently emerged. This work aims to develop a fast, easy-to-perform, low-cost analytical method to qualitatively and quantitatively determine rice syrup using the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) technique with attenuated total reflectance (ATR) mode without complex mathematical procedures and sophisticated sample preparation. This study involved the analysis of 256 intentionally rice-syrup-adulterated honey samples and 92 pure honey samples of bee multifloral honey from Spain. The method, based strictly on the determination of the absorbance directly from the samples, at 1013 cm−1 The methodology used no need for previous treatments or preparations and demonstrated the scope for the unequivocal detection of rice syrup in adulterated honey containing equal to or higher than 3% (m/m) or more of this adulterant. Using the Exponential Plus Linear model (r = 0.998) shows high accuracy and precision, in terms of relative error (0.32%, m/m) and coefficient of variation (1.4%). The results of this study have led to the establishment of a maximum absorbance threshold of 0.670 for honey without rice syrup.
CRUE-CSIC (Acuerdos Transformativos 2022)