Stingless bee (Meliponini) honey has long been considered a high-value functional food
Stingless bees (Meliponini) occur in most tropical and sub-tropical regions, with over 500 species of these eusocial bees distributed across Neotropical, Afrotropical and Indo-Australian regions1. Like the more well-recognised Apis mellifera honeybees, stingless bees live in permanent colonies made up of a single queen and workers, who collect pollen and nectar to feed larvae within the colony and likewise store honey in the hive for this purpose.
Honey produced by stingless bees is known by various names such as Meliponine honey, pot-honey, sugarbag honey (in Australia), and Kelulut honey (in Malaysia). Under these and other names, stingless bee honey has a long history of traditional indigenous use with a range of purported therapeutic properties2, including antidiabetic and antioxidant activity3,4.
Various studies have been conducted of physicochemical and nutritional composition of stingless bee honey5, but to date few bioactive components have been identified2. While these studies all acknowledged that the composition of stingless bee honey is different to that of European bee honey, no rigorous identification of the major components and potential therapeutically active compounds has been reported.
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