DETERMINATION OF THE GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGIN OF HONEYS BY MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS OF GAS CHROMATOGRAPHIC DATA ON THEIR FREE AMINO ACID CONTENT
J. GILBERT, M. J. SHEPHERD , M. A. WALLWORK AND R. G. HARRIS
Seventeen free amino acids have been determined by gas chromatography in 45 samples of honey obtained from the UK, Australia, Argentina and Canada. The results were analysed statistically (using canonical variates analysis) in order to test the validity of the use of amino acid data for characterizing the geographical origin of honey. Good discrimination was shown between the samples from Australia, Argentina and Canada. Those from the UK were classified as a group, but they fell between the samples from Argentina and Canada, and could be wholly discriminated only on further analysis when the well separated Australian group was omitted. These preliminary results substantiate the claim that certain groups of honey samples from certain foreign countries can be distinguished from one another on the basis of free amino acids. The statistical analysis should be improved with larger samples, but owing to the proportion of data omitted as outliers, and to the problem of classifying honeys as of UK origin, the method as now developed must be employed in conjunction with other techniques in order to obtain a reliable identification of country of origin.