#Science for Innovation

Willow aphid honey as a prebiotic

Commercial beekeepers currently discard "concrete" willow aphid honey. However, we show that a prebiotic candy can be produced from it as an attractive alternative product.

Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris has published an interesting new paper in honey chemistry: Composition and potential as a prebiotic functional food of a Giant Willow Aphid (Tuberolachnus salignus) honeydew honey produced in New Zealand.

The carbohydrate composition of Giant Willow Aphid honeydew honey was characterised and shown to comprise a very high proportion of melezitose, a trisaccharide.  Melezitose was demonstrated to be resistant to acid hydrolysis at gut pH and to enzymatic digestion by alpha-glucosidase, implying that it meets the prebiotic criterion of reaching the colon to be fermented by the colonic microflora.

A methodology for isolation of the melezitose was developed and a hard crack candy was produced from the original honey.

Other research that you may be interested in