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New research advances Manuka honey definition

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Comvita (NZX:CVT) announced today research supporting industry and government moves to improve the existing definition for Manuka honey. The research paper has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Food Chemistry. The research describes how unique signature compounds can be identified and used to profile genuine Manuka honey.

Researchers examined a range of nectar and honey samples, identifying and measuring several potential honey marker compounds. The compounds were evaluated based on their uniqueness to Manuka, relative abundance, stability, and potential for adulteration. The most significant signature compounds of Manuka honey were found to be leptosperin, lepteridine and 2-methoxyacetophenone.

The use of leptosperin in a Manuka definition has gained widespread support from the industry, however this was not included in the definition proposed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). The discovery of leptosperin was first published by a Japanese researcher, Professor Yoji Kato, in 2012-. His research showed this compound to be stable and abundant in Manuka honey. The Comvita-led research has reinforced the findings of Professor Kato and has clearly demonstrated leptosperin is the best compound upon which to base a definition.

Comvita CEO Scott Coulter said, "We would like to see leptosperin in MPI’s Manuka honey definition, recognising both the scientific justification, and the strong industry alignment around this key compound. As science continues to advance the understanding of Manuka honey, the definition needs to advance with it."

"Comvita has provided MPI with a copy of the research paper and remains committed to working with MPI and the wider industry to support the development of a robust definition and certification standard for Manuka honey."

The research, undertaken over a three-year period, was conducted by Jessie Bong (recipient of the Claude Stratford Research Scholarship, at The University of Auckland) and Head of Honey Research, Comvita, Dr. Jonathan Stephens. The research was conducted as part of a wider research programme which Comvita has invested in for over ten years.

The abstract is available at:


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