Determination of Moisture in Honey by Refractive Index

The moisture content of honey is an important quality criterion as it determines the honey’s ability to remain stable and to resist spoilage by yeast fermentation.

The bee’s knees

Honey is an aqueous dispersion of particles, inorganic ions, organic materials, and, most importantly, sugars, generally disaccharides. Most physical properties of honeys are defined by the concentration and composition of carbohydrates.

Moisture in honey is an essential quality criterion in honey processing industries, as the probability of fermentation of honey over storage increases with moisture content. The refractive index is a measure that proportionally decreases with increasing water content, and therefore is used to determine the moisture content in honey.

Ensuring quality control in honey with the Abbemat

The Abbemat refractometers determine the refractive index with a resolution of up to 0.000001 nD within a range of up to 1.3 - 1.72 nD. To ensure an accurate refractive index measurement, accurate tem-perature control is required. Therefore all Abbemat refractometers come with a Peltier temperature control providing a temperature range of up to 10 - 85 °C and an accuracy of up to 0.03 °C.
The more precise the moisture content of a representative honey sample is analyzed, the more precise the absolute moisture content of the analyzed batch is to be calculated. With an up to six-digit resolution, the moisture content of honey, even from large batches, can be analyzed highly precisely. This is essential, as the moisture content determines the quality and storage properties, and therefore the value, of honey.

Learn more about Abbemat Refractometers

Other relevant instruments

Anton Paar’s MCP polarimeters can be operated in combination with the Abbemat refractometers and are a powerful tool to distinguish between honeydew and blossom honeys.

Good to know

The Abbemat comes with the preconfigured scale "Honey Moisture Content" that will directly display the amount of moisture in the tested honey sample.