Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Pollen give honey its fingerprint

Bees collect pollen from flowers and trees. They carry them along as yellow balls at their legs. The granules (also known as pollen) are not only of vital importance for the bees, the unique mixture also contains very useful substances for man.

An important element of honey research is pollen analysis. Under the microscope it can be determined precisely, which are the carrying plants of the pollen and from which region they originate. Both the botanical and the geographical origin of the honey is determined. The work of the beekeeper can also be reviewed and monitored on manipulation of honey, such as honey filtration or addition of pollen.

Due to the too low concentration of pollen in honey, the first step is concentration in order to be able to examine it under the microscope. Pollen can be isolated from honey by centrifuging a dilute solution of honey in water. A small amount of the pollen residue is transferred with a pipette to a microscope slide and then carefully dried at 40 degrees Celsius. After drying, the pollen residue is embedded in glycerin gelatin to which, if necessary, basic fuchsin can be added as a coloring agent. This makes structures come out more clearly. After placing the coverslip, the kind of pollen can be determined with the aid of a microscope, by comparing the microscopic image with illustrations, descriptions or preferably with a reference collection.

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