Characterisation of Kenyan honey and a design model for processing equipment

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Bichang'a, R.M. Robert
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Honey production potential in Kenya is estimated to be 100,000 metric tonnes which can earn the country between Ksh 15-20 billion in foreign exchange. This production potential is not met because of poor apiculture practices. Lack of appropriate honey extraction and processing equipment which is affordable and accessible has resulted into production of low level and poor quality honey. Honey produced in Kenya is from different regions and botanical sources and have different physicochemical and biochemical properties. There has been no study on these important properties in order to characterise and regulate the honey quality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the physicochemical and biochemical properties of Kenyan honey from different regions and design a model to fabricate and construct a processing equipment to improve the quality of local honey. Honey from the four regions of Kenya; Rift Valley, Central, Eastern and Coast was analysed for moisture content, electrical conductivity, ash content, mineral content, pH, HMF, water insoluble. The mean moisture content for the four regions was 19.48 ± 0.11% varying from 1 x.44-29.60%. Coast region had the highest mean moisture content (20.77 ± 0.46%) while Rift Valley had the minimum (18.84 ± 0.10%). The mean electrical conductivity for the four regions was 0.549 ± 0.029 mS ranging from 0.020-2.25 mS. Rift Valley honey had the lowest mean value (0.059 ± 0.015 mS) while Eastern had the highest. The mean viscosity for the four regions at 30 *c was 4342.98 ± 314.08 centipoises, varying from 1000-7700 centipoises. Rift Valley had the most viscous honey with a mean of 5607.75 ± 393 centipoises whereas central had the least viscous with mean of 3335.00 ± 152.53 centipoises. The mean apparent reducing sugars for the four regions before and after hydrolysis were 69.41 ± 0.17 and 71.39 ± 0.17% respectively, ranging from 54.43-78.27% in the same order. Fructose was the dominant specific sugar in honey for the four regions followed by glucose, sucrose and maltose. The mean values of pH, HMF, density, diastase enzyme activity, and hygroscopicity for the four regions were 4.32 ± 0.02, 17.54 ± 1.46 mg/kg, 1.41 ± 0.00 g/cm3, 15.04 ± 0.460 DN, and 8.67 ± 0.01% respectively. In the design of extractor warmer equipment, the overall mean of density and viscosity were used to determine the dimensions and heat transmission of the vessels. The pH was used for the selection of material for construction. Moisture content, HMF, hygroscopicity and diastase were used to set the processing and storage conditions. Kenyan honey was identified as floral (blossom), honeydew honey, compound or mixed honey with Newtonian behaviour. No thixotropic honey was found in these regions. The moisture content of Kenyan honey was found to be below the maximum permitted limit of (21%) and therefore stands no risk of fermenting. Most of the Kenyan honey had matured with acceptable levels of proline and diastase number. The physicochemical parameters of Kenyan honey were successfully used to design honey extraction and processing equipment which can be used to process honey in any part of the country.
SF 539.6.K4B5