Elucidation of the components involved in the antioxidant activity of honey
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Canadian honeys were analyzed for sugar concentration, honey colour, total phenolic content, the level of brown pigments, and antioxidant activity in order to elucidate the main components involved in the antioxidant activity of honey. By employing size-exclusion chromatography in combination with activity-guided fractionation, it was demonstrated that the antioxidant components are of high molecular weight (HMW), brown in colour and absorb at both 280nm and 450nm. The presence of brown HMW antioxidant components prompted an investigation on the influence of heattreatment on the Maillard reaction and the formation of melanoid ins. Heat-treatment of honey resulted in an increase in the level of phenolics in the melanoidin fractions which correlated with an increase in antioxidant activity. The preliminary results of this study suggest for the first time that honey melanoidins underlie the antioxidant activity of unheated and heat-treated honey, and that phenolic constituents are involved in the melanoidin structure and are likely incorporated by covalent or non-covalent interaction.