Honey is a natural and nutritious food made by bees using nectar from flowers. It contains traces of vitamins and minerals along with antioxidants. It is known be an effective remedy for various ailments like cold, sore throat, stomach ulcers etc. There are different types of bees which produces honey with slightly different properties. Whatever be the type of bees it is one such food that doesn’t get spoilt for a very long time.
Honey has antimicrobial properties which is why it was used to treat burns and wounds. It is basically made of water and carbohydrates, with 95-99% of solids being sugars. Sugars are classified according to their size and the complexity of molecules of which they are made. Dextrose (glucose) and fructose (laevulose) are the main sugars in it. These are simple sugars and are building blocks for more complex honey sugars like sucrose, maltose etc.
It contains antioxidants like phenolic acids and blend of flavonoids. The viscous nature of it varies with temperature and its water content. Viscosity decreases with increase in temperature. Due to very low moisture content in its natural form, microbial organisms will not grow easily. The moisture content may change depending on conditions of storage. Honey can absorb moisture from the air. This phenomenon is called hygroscopy. Yeasts and spore-forming bacteria may be found in honey but disease causing bacteria cannot be found.
Honey has very high sugar content and is fairly acidic in nature. Because of these two reasons it is not a suitable medium for bacterial growth. However well stored, honey starts to crystallize over time forming sugar crystals at the bottom. Honey is suitable for long term storage. It is highly stable against microbial growth because of its low moisture content, low water activity, low pH and anti-microbial constituents.
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