Chemical Profiling of Cerumen and Honey of the African Stingless Bee Meliponula ferruginea: A preliminary study

Recently, the propolis and honey of stingless bees have been attracting growing attention because of their health promoting properties. However, studies on these products of African Meliponini are still very scarce. We analyzed the chemical composition of cerumen, resin deposits (propolis) and honey of Meliponula ferruginea from Tanzania. Two propolis and two cerumen samples were studied by GC-MS, they contained mainly terpenoids (di-and tri-terpenes) but all four samples demonstrated qualitative and quantitative differences. This fact is an indication that M. ferruginea has no strict preferences for resins used to construct and protect their nests. The antimicrobial and anti-quorum sensing properties of the two materials were also tested. The honey of M. ferruginea differed significantly from Apis mellifera European (Bulgarian) honey, it was rich in organic acids and contained high amounts of the disaccharide trehalulose, which may be responsible for some of the biological activities of stingless bee honey. The results demonstrate that the honey and propolis of African stingless bees are rich in biologically active substances and deserve further research.
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