Honey Bee Products

Australian beekeepers have a reliable market supplying non-differentiated blended honey through supermarket chains. Product price is severely constrained by what supermarkets perceive is customer value. Based on health benefits, differentiation of Manuka, Jarrah and Leatherwood honeys are achieving higher prices. This programme will characterise Australian honeys so that each product can be identified by the end user as authentic, recognised by unique compounds and pollen, chemical-free and known by its health benefits. Besides extensive chemistry expertise this CRC has specific antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant expertise, and an array of other bioassays amongst its collaborators that can test honey bee products for their efficacy and provide clinical proof of the benefits of honey bee products. This will lead to greater access and competitiveness in the higher-value health food and nutraceutical markets.

The CRC is recruiting post graduates to work within four key programs.  If you are a PhD student and wish to learn more about Honey Bee Product project work click here.

  • Selection and validation of Australian-wide analytical tools for the phytochemical analysis of MGO, DHA, HMF and sugars. WA research bee hives, processing and storage facilities, development of field protocols and database template established.
  • Phytochemical analysis of honey samples from across Australia matched with flora observations, product extraction and handling. HPTLC fingerprint, pH, water content, colour, MGO, DHA, HMF, sugar profile, total phenolics, total flavonoids, pyrrolizidine alkaloids undertaken.
  • Traceability of mono-floral and bioregion honeys through DNA and chemical fingerprints is developed and validated.
  • Database analysis undertaken to report on key photochemical and bioactivity characteristics of honeys by bioregion and mono-floral honey opportunities
  • Value attributes of Eucalypt hydrogen peroxide honeys are optimised through their harvesting, handling and storage (connects with P2, Output 1).
  • Review of import testing requirements for honey bee products from Australia by country is produced and list of companies providing services placed on CRC HBP web page
  • Approved tests developed to provide a timely service to the industry to meet honey bee product export requirements
  • In-depth antimicrobial analysis and microflora assessment of selected honeys of interest. Correlation to chemical analysis undertaken
  • Anti-inflammatory activity test for honey is developed, activity correlated to chemical attributes and biogeographical honey activity quantified
  • Prebiotic and infection activity of honeys from the biogeographical regions is tested (Helicobacter pyroli)
    Prebiotic chemical composition markers in honey
  • Anti-oxidant activity of honey is explored and documented for honeys from different biogeographical regions through its effect on antioxidant enzyme activity (catalase, heme oxygenase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase); ORAC assay using water soluble azo compounds eg. DPPH or AAPH; fluorescent indicator protein with Trolox standard; Vitamin C analysis and effect on mitochondrial function


Objective:  Establish a comprehensive database on the spectrum of antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of WA honeys.

Project Leader: Dr Kate Hammer

Technical Support: to be advised


Objective: Continue to build the database of the measurement of DHA in Leptospermum species nectar for selection of plants for developing breeding programs and establishing hive sites.

Project Leader:  Dr Peter Brooks

Objectives: Provide structured and certified development pathways for honey products that differentiates and expands product range, market value and export destinations of WA honey products.

Project Leader: Ken Dods

Project leader: Jessica Jorritsma

Collaboration: David Chandler (AGRF), Kerryn Garrett (AGRF), Rob Davis


Project leader: Ken Dods

Collaboration: Liquin Liu (ChemCentre), Le Van La (ChemCentre), Richard Stephens (ChemCentre), Emily Wellington (ChemCentre), Andre De Boer (ChemCentre), Nashwa Afifi (ChemCentre), Rob Manning, Lynne Milne, Rob Davis

Project leader: Michael Pearce

Collaboration: Jessica Murdoch (ChemCentre), Hannah Crisp (ChemCentre), Lynne Milne, Rob Manning

Project leader: John Tu

Collaboration: Behrid Izadi (Vroo), Nikolai Panine (Chem Centre)

Objective: Evaluate honey bee products from the Jarrah Forest biogeographical region and develop methodologies to assist in maximising their bioactivity during production and storage

Project Leader: Connie Locher

PhD Student: Ivan Lawag

Objective: To show that honey has properties that can assist in pain relief after a tonsillectomy.

Project Leader: Prof. Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg


Objective: Explore new technologies to use artificial intelligence to count and assess pollen in a liquid.

Project Leaders: Prof. Dilusha Silva & Prof. Mark Reynolds

Project Support: Dr Du Huynh