Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Submit a Manuscript

Publishing with us to make your research visible to the widest possible audience.

Propose a Special Issue

Building a community of authors and readers to discuss the latest research and develop new ideas.

Review Article |

Honey Physiochemical Properties and Factors Associated with Honey Quality in Ethiopia: A Review

Honey is a naturally sweet material made by honey bees from plant nectar or secretions. The bees gather the nectar or secretions, change it by mixing it with other components, deposit, dehydrate, store, and then leave it in the honey comb to ripen and mature. Honey contains 80–85% carbohydrates, 15–17% water, 0.3% proteins, 0.2% ashes, small amounts of amino acids, vitamins, and other components in low concentrations. However, this component fluctuates depending on the impurities that affect the honey's quality. Thus, the current review aimed to provide information on physiochemical properties of honey and the factors that affect honey physiochemical properties. Obtaining premium honey and other bee products is the ultimate aim of beekeeping. However, factors like a lack of improved bee hive technology, chemical application, honey bee disease, predators, pests, honey harvesting and processing methods, honey adulteration, toxic plants, and intensifying farming practices are the main ones that negatively affect the quality and composition/physiochemical properties of honey. In addition to these difficulties, the physiochemical characteristics of honey deviate from those established by the Condex Alimentariuse Commissions, Ethiopian Apiculture Board, and European Union. The government and non-governmental organizations should therefore provide training on the challenges of honey production related to honey's physiochemical properties to all beekeepers and other stakeholders who participate in the beekeeping sector directly or indirectly in order to mitigate the problem of honey quality reduction.

Adulteration, Agrochemical, Honey, Toxic Plants, Quality Parameter

APA Style

Tirfie, A. M. (2024). Honey Physiochemical Properties and Factors Associated with Honey Quality in Ethiopia: A Review. Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 12(1), 11-18.

ACS Style

Tirfie, A. M. Honey Physiochemical Properties and Factors Associated with Honey Quality in Ethiopia: A Review. Anim. Vet. Sci. 2024, 12(1), 11-18. doi: 10.11648/j.avs.20241201.12

AMA Style

Tirfie AM. Honey Physiochemical Properties and Factors Associated with Honey Quality in Ethiopia: A Review. Anim Vet Sci. 2024;12(1):11-18. doi: 10.11648/j.avs.20241201.12

Copyright © 2024 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Bradbear, N., Bees and their role in forest livelihoods: a guide to the services provided by bees and the sustainable harvesting, processing and marketing of their products. Non-Wood Forest Products, 2009(19).
2. Mekuriaw, Z. and L. Harris-Coble, Ethiopia’s livestock systems: Overview and areas of inquiry. 2021.
3. Codex, A., Revised codex standard for honey. Codex Alimentarius, 2001.
4. Aklilu, Y. and M. Wekesa, Drought, livestock and livelihoods: lessons from the 1999-2001 emergency response in the pastoral sector in Kenya. 2002: Overseas Development Institute London.
5. Gezahegne, K. Marketing of honey and bees wax in Ethiopia: past, present and perspective feature, 78-88. in 3rd National Annual Conference of the Ethiopian Beekeeper’s Association (3-4 September, Addis Ababa). Ethiopian Beekeeper’s Association. 2001.
6. Adgaba, N., Physical and chemical properties of Ethiopian beeswax and detection of adulteration. Ethiop. J. Anim. Prod. (EJAP), 2007. 7: p. 39-48.
7. MoA, I., Apiculture value chain vision and strategy for Ethiopia. Addis Ababa: Ministry of Agriculture and International Livestock Research Institute, 2013.
8. Mirik, M., et al., Satellite remote sensing of wheat infected by wheat streak mosaic virus. Plant disease, 2011. 95(1): p. 4-12.
9. Gebremariam, T. and G. Brhane, Determination of Quality and adulteration effects of honey from Adigrat and its surrounding areas. Int J Technol Emerg Engin Res, 2014. 2(10): p. 71-76.
10. Bogdanov, A. S., et al., High molecular variability in three pine vole species of the subgenus Terricola (Microtus, Arvicolinae) and plausible source of polymorphism. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 2021. 59(8): p. 2519-2538.
11. Nuru, A., et al., Floral phenology, nectar secretion dynamics, and honey production potential, of two lavender species (Lavandula Dentata, and L. Pubescens) in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Journal of Apicultural Science, 2015. 59(2): p. 135-144.
12. Ababor, S. and Y. Tekle, Beekeeping practice, opportunities, marketing and challenges in Ethiopia. Dairy Vet. Sci, 2018. 5: p. 555662.
13. Mersha, A., et al., Essential newborn care practice and its predictors among mother who delivered within the past six months in Chencha District, Southern Ethiopia, 2017. PloS one, 2018. 13(12): p. e0208984.
14. Sahle, H., et al., Assessment of honey production system, constraints and opportunities in Ethiopia. Pharm Pharmacol Int J, 2018. 6(1): p. 42-47.
15. Kassa Degu, T. and G. Regasa Megerssa, Role of beekeeping in the community forest conservation: evidence from Ethiopia. Bee World, 2020. 97(4): p. 98-104.
16. Mohammed, N. A., Geographical races of the Honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) of the Northern Regions of Ethiopia. 2002, Rhodes University.
17. Desalgne, P., Ethiopian honey: Accessing international markets with inclusive business and sector development. SNV/Ethiopia, 2012. 2011: p. 1-7.
18. Edessa, N., Survey of honey production system in West Shewa Zone: Proceedings of the 4th Ethiopian Beekeepers Association (EBA). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2005.
19. Crane, E., Bees and beekeeping: science, practice and world resources. 1990.
20. da Silva, P. M., et al., Honey: Chemical composition, stability and authenticity. Food chemistry, 2016. 196: p. 309-323.
21. Alimentarius, C., Revised codex standard for honey. Codex stan, 2001. 12: p. 1982.
22. Jones, D. N. and D. L. Paulhus, The role of impulsivity in the Dark Triad of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 2011. 51(5): p. 679-682.
23. Oddo, L. P., et al., Main European unifloral honeys: descriptive sheets. Apidologie, 2004. 35(Suppl. 1): p. S38-S81.
24. Negera, E., Survey on Honey Production Systems in West Showa Zone. EBA Executive Committee Members, 2005: p. 60.
25. Nair, S. and N. B. Maghraoui, Physicochemical properties of honeys produced in North-West of Algeria. Adv. Food Sci. Eng, 2017. 1: p. 123-128.
26. Tigistu, T., Z. Worku, and A. Mohammed, Evaluation of the physicochemical properties of honey produced in Doyogena and Kachabira Districts of Kembata Tambaro zone, Southern Ethiopia. Heliyon, 2021. 7(4).
27. Tarsikka, P., Effect of moisture content and temperature on physicochemical and rheological properties of honey. Agricultural Research Journal, 2018. 55(3).
28. Nganga, F., et al., Physicochemical analysis of honey in the kenyan retail market. Food Sci. Qual. Manag, 2013. 12: p. 30-36.
29. Belie, T., Honeybee production and marketing systems, constraints and opportunities in Burie District of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. 2009, Bahir Dar University.
30. Getu, A. and M. Birhan, Chemical analysis of honey and major honey production challenges in and around Gondar, Ethiopia. Academic Journal of Nutrition, 2014. 3(1): p. 6-14.
31. Tesfaye, B., D. Begna, and M. Eshetu, Evaluation of physico-chemical properties of honey produced in Bale natural forest, Southeastern Ethiopia. Int J Agricultural Sci Food Technology, 2016. 2(1): p. 021-027.
32. Gobessa, S., E. Seifu, and A. Bezabih, Physicochemical properties of honey produced in the Homesha district of Western Ethiopia. Journal of Apicultural Science, 2012. 56(1): p. 33-40.
33. Lewoyehu, M. and M. Amare, Comparative evaluation of analytical methods for determining the antioxidant activities of honey: A review. Cogent Food & Agriculture, 2019. 5(1): p. 1685059.
34. Kinati, C., T. Tolemariam, and K. Debele, Quality evaluation of honey produced in Gomma Woreda of South Western Ethiopia. Livestock research for rural development, 2011. 23(9): p. 06-14.
35. Mesele, T. L., Review on physico-chemical properties of honey in Eastern Africa. Journal of Apicultural Research, 2021. 60(1): p. 33-45.
36. Kasenburger, P., Sugars, free and total acids in different types of Slovenian honey. University of Ljubljana, 2006. 98.
37. Terrab, A., et al., Characterisation of northwest Moroccan honeys by gas chromatographic–mass spectrometric analysis of their sugar components. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2002. 82(2): p. 179-185.
38. Melaku, M. and W. Tefera, Physicochemical properties, mineral and heavy metal contents of honey in Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 2022. 114: p. 104829.
39. Almasaudi, S., The antibacterial activities of honey. Saudi journal of biological sciences, 2021. 28(4): p. 2188-2196.
40. Saklani, S. and N. Kumar, Quality Honey Production, Processing, and Various Mechanisms for Detection of Adulteration, in Honey. 2021, CRC Press. p. 87-118.
41. Solayman, M., U. M. Shapla, and I. Khalil, Furfural and Hydroxymethylfurfural. Honey: Composition and Health Benefits, 2023: p. 152-166.
42. Shapla, U. M., et al., 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) levels in honey and other food products: effects on bees and human health. Chemistry Central Journal, 2018. 12(1): p. 1-18.
43. Valdez, B., Food industrial processes: methods and equipment. 2012: BoD–Books on Demand.
44. Fallico, B., et al., Effects of conditioning on HMF content in unifloral honeys. Food chemistry, 2004. 85(2): p. 305-313.
45. Belay, A., et al., Physicochemical properties of the Harenna forest honey, Bale, Ethiopia. Food chemistry, 2013. 141(4): p. 3386-3392.
46. Orina, I. N., Quality and safety characteristics of honey produced in different regions of Kenya. 2014.
47. Ouchemoukh, S., H. Louaileche, and P. Schweitzer, Physicochemical characteristics and pollen spectrum of some Algerian honeys. Food control, 2007. 18(1): p. 52-58.
48. Berhe, A., E. Tesfaye, and D. Terle, Evaluation of physicochemical properties of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in Godere Woreda, Gambella, Ethiopia. American Journal of Food Science and Technology, 2018. 6(1): p. 50-56.
49. Al-Mahasneh, M., et al., Classification and prediction of bee honey indirect adulteration using physiochemical properties coupled with k-means clustering and simulated annealing-artificial neural networks (SA-ANNs). Journal of Food Quality, 2021. 2021: p. 1-9.
50. Bett, C. K., Factors influencing quality honey production. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2017. 7(11): p. 281-292.
51. Kebede, A. and N. Adgaba, Honey Bee Production Practices and Honey Quality in Silti Wereda Ethiopia. Honey bee production practices and honey quality in Silti Wereda, Ethiopia, 2011.
52. Kartik, K., Approaches to The Optimization of Honey-Based Fermentations. 2021.
53. Archibong, F. N., Design, Construction and Performance Evaluation of a Honey Extracting Machine. Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal, 2021. 23(3).
54. Tulu, D., et al., Improved beekeeping technology in Southwestern Ethiopia: Focus on beekeepers’ perception, adoption rate, and adoption determinants. Cogent Food & Agriculture, 2020. 6(1): p. 1814070.
55. Tadesse, B., et al., Factors influencing organic honey production level and marketing: evidence from southwest Ethiopia. Heliyon, 2021. 7(9): p. e07975.
56. Attaullah, M., et al., Honey as a bioindicator of environmental organochlorine insecticides contamination. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 2021. 83.
57. Mancuso, T., L. Croce, and M. Vercelli, Total brood removal and other biotechniques for the sustainable control of Varroa mites in honey bee colonies: economic impact in beekeeping farm case studies in northwestern Italy. Sustainability, 2020. 12(6): p. 2302.
58. Bongers, I. E., et al., A single method to analyse residues from five different classes of prohibited pharmacologically active substances in milk. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, 2021. 38(10): p. 1717-1734.
59. Bonerba, E., et al., Determination of antibiotic residues in honey in relation to different potential sources and relevance for food inspection. Food Chemistry, 2021. 334: p. 127575.
60. Al-Mashhadany, D. A., Detection of antibiotic residues among raw beef in Erbil city (Iraq) and impact of temperature on antibiotic remains. Italian journal of food safety, 2019. 8(1).
61. Scripcă, L. A. and S. Amariei, The Influence of Chemical Contaminants on the Physicochemical Properties of Unifloral and Multifloral Honey from the North-East Region of Romania. Foods, 2021. 10(5): p. 1039.
62. Siviter, H., et al., Agrochemicals interact synergistically to increase bee mortality. Nature, 2021. 596(7872): p. 389-392.
63. Mohammed, S. S. and A. Hassen, The Current Constraints and Opportunity of Beekeeping in Ethiopia: A Review. 2021.
64. Fikadu, Z., Pesticides use, practice and its effect on honeybee in Ethiopia: a review. International Journal of Tropical Insect Science, 2020. 40: p. 473-481.
65. Godifey, G., Epidemiology of honey bee disease and pests in selected zones of Tigray region, northern Ethiopia. 2015, Bahir Dar University.
66. Tucker, K. W., Honey bee pests, predators, and diseases. Vol. 410. 1978: Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.
67. Gebru, Y. G., A. E. Gebre, and G. Beyene, Review on the role of honeybee in climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation. Livestock Res Rural Dev, 2016. 28: p. 48.
68. Shenkute, A., et al., Honey production systems (Apis mellifera L.) in Kaffa, Sheka and Bench-Maji zones of Ethiopia. Shenkute, AG, Getachew, Y., Assefa, D., Adgaba, N., Ganga, G., and Abebe, W. (2012). Honey production systems (Apis mellifera L.) in Kaffa, Sheka and Bench-Maji zones of Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, 2012. 4(19): p. 528-541.
69. Said, M. K., K. H. Peter, and S. J. Nyakoki, Factors Influencing Beekeeping Practices in Sikonge, Tanzania. Bee World, 2022. 99(2): p. 56-60.
70. Gidey, A., S. Mulugeta, and A. Fromsa, Prevalence of bee lice Braula coeca (Diptera: Braulidae) and other perceived constraints to honey bee production in Wukro Woreda, Tigray Region Ethiopia. Global Veterinaria, 2012. 8(6): p. 631-635.
71. Begna, D. and Y. Kebede. Survey of honeybee pests & pathogens in Addis Ababa region. in Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Conference Held by Ethiopian Beekeepers Association. 2005.
72. Birhan, M., S. Sahlu, and Z. Getiye, Assessment of challenges and opportunities of bee keeping in and around gondar. Academic Journal of Entomology, 2015. 8(3): p. 127-131.
73. Azonwade, F. E., et al., Physicochemical characteristics and microbiological quality of honey produced in Benin. Journal of Food Quality, 2018. 2018: p. 1-13.
75. Kebede, H. and G. Tadesse, Survey on honey production system, challenges and opportunities in selected areas of Hadya Zone, Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology and Sustainable Development, 2014. 6(6): p. 60-66.
76. Dubale, B. T., Beekeeping practices, factors affecting production, quality of honey and beeswax in Bale Zone, Oromia Region. Haramaya University, 2015.
77. Mitikie, A., Characterizing the Beekeeping System and Determination of Honey Quality in Tehulederie District of the South Wollo Zone, Amhara Region, Ethiopia. 2017, Bahir Dar University.
78. Nigussie, K., P. Subramanian, and G. Mebrahtu, Physicochemical analysis of Tigray honey: An attempt to determine major quality markers of honey. Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia, 2012. 26(1).
79. Amiry, S., M. Esmaiili, and M. Alizadeh, Classification of adulterated honeys by multivariate analysis. Food chemistry, 2017. 224: p. 390-397.
80. Lawal, R., A. Lawal, and J. Adekalu, Physico-chemical studies on adulteration of honey in Nigeria. Pakistan journal of biological sciences: PJBS, 2009. 12(15): p. 1080-1084.
81. Damto, T., A review on status of honey adulteration and their detection techniques in Ethiopia. J. Nutr. Food Sci, 2021. 11: p. 180.
82. Gemeda, M. and T. Negera, Assessing the Effect of Adulteration on Honey and Beeswax Quality and Designing Way of Identification in Oromia. Int. J. Res. Stud. Biosci, 2017. 5: p. 34-39.
83. Jaafar, M., et al., A review on honey adulteration and the available detection approaches. International Journal of Integrated Engineering, 2020. 12(2): p. 125-131.
84. Ambaw, M. and T. Teklehaimanot, Characterization of beekeeping production and marketing system and major constraints in selected districts of Arsi and West Arsi zones of Oromia region in Ethiopia. Children, 2018. 6: p. 2408-2414.
85. Özcan, M., D. Arslan, and D. A. Ceylan, Effect of inverted saccharose on some properties of honey. Food chemistry, 2006. 99(1): p. 24-29.
86. Zewde, A., An Assessment of Factors that Affect Development of Beekeeping in Rural Areas: The Case of Hurumu District, Ilubabor Zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. 2011, Addis Ababa University.
87. Tadele, A., et al., Assessment of honey bee production system, honey bee flora and poisonous plants, post-harvest handling and marketing of honey in South Omo Zone of SNNPR of Ethiopia. Assessment, 2016. 6(13).
88. Kerealem, E., Honeybee production system, opportunities and challenges in Enebsesar midir woreda (Amahara region) and Amaro special woreda (SNNPR), Ethiopia. Unpublished M. Sc. Thesis, Alemaya University, Alemaya, 2005.