Honey research breaking new ground

Research into the properties of manuka honey, renowned for its anti-bacterial and healing properties, means producers could eventually identify the area it is from.

More than 100 nectars were collected from manuka bush during the summer, along with 150 honey samples from controlled hives, and sent to laboratories worldwide.

John Rawcliffe, from the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, the group representing most of New Zealand’s manuka honey producers, said the full set of chemical profiles in the honey had been analysed.

Mr Rawcliff, who is in Japan working with researchers, said they were able to identify all the unique components dominant within the honey.

“We understand that it’s complex and we are able to use good statistical tools to identify what is manuka,” he said.

“Now as it’s leading technology that protects this honey against adulteration, it shows we can identify the provenance and, in time, we’ll even know which province this honey comes from, ie Taranaki or East Cape and all the rest of it, so it’s the most exciting science in the world being applied to this unique product.”