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file Need research/scientific reference - Formic Acid

  • deelusbybeekeeper
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23 Sep 2003 22:00 #20893 par deelusbybeekeeper
Need research/scientific reference - Formic Acid a été créé par deelusbybeekeeper
Hi all,
Okay, the storm Marty is passing thru with rains here and I am home and thinking and doing badly. Went to reading in old books and wouldn't you know it got into E.F. Phillips 1918 and flipping pages hit upon Formic Acid and have now spent a great part of afternoon trying to find reference now so I can stop thinking about it.
Delimma has happened and I know others here on lists have books, so maybe one of you can help!
This is what I was reading concerning composition of honey:
" In the laboratory inversion is accomplished by the addtion of an acid to the cane sugar solution and there is a small amount of acid in honey. What this acid is has not been determined, it being usually calculated in analyses "as formic acid," which must not be misinterpreted as indicating that the acid actually is formic acid. It indicates merely that in the analysis the acidity is calculated as if the acid were formic acid. It was formerly believed tha the poison of the bee sting is formic acid and various fanciful theories have been advanced to explain the origin of the formic acid supposed to be present in honey. The worst of these explanations is that just before sealing the honey, a worker bee puts a drop of poison form the sting into the honey to preserve it. No such action has been observed. Possible these speculation are the basis for the calculation of the acidity of honey by the chemist "as formic."
Now upon reading this I went and pulled out my Hive and the Honey Bee by Dadant and read (1992 edition):
"Because of its great sweetness, the acidity of honey is not particularly evident to the palate. The acids, however, do contribute to the complex flavor.Years ago it was thought that citric acid predominated, with small amounts of formic, acetic, butyric, malic, and succinic acids (Nelson and Mottern, 1931). More recently it has been found (Stinson et al., 1960) that the predominant acid in honey is gluconic acid, which is derived from dextrose (see glucose oxidase).Other acids identified for the first time in this study were lactic and pyroglutamic.
Reflecting the early belief that formic acid was the principal acid, its acidity was for many years reported analytically as "%formic acid."It is now more properly expressed in food regulatoins as "milliequivalents per kilogram honey" or meq/kg. This expression can be converted to the equivalent of any acid by use of the appropriate flactor, for example 1 meq/ke is equivalent to 0.0196% gluconic acid (19.6 mg. per 100 g, or 19.6 mg%)."
Now the above by Dadant doesn't help me because I reference above the previous E.F. Phillips information, so I went and pulled out A.I. Root , ABC and XYZ or Bee Culture (1983):
All Root says is: "Other acids which have been reported in honey are formic, acetic, butyric, lactic, oxalic, tartaric, maleic, pyroglutamic, pyruvic, a-ketoglutaric and glycollic acids."

But acids which have been reported, doesn't say whether reported right or wrong due to now having the E.F.Phillips information.
So the question is:
What is the REAL REFERENCE for formic acid actually being in honey and By Who for the research and work???????? When done?????
Can anyone help???? What book is the information to be found in for beekeepers??? What is the actual level of formic acid in honey if indeed it is to be actually found in honey and not supposed like early on?
If it is not to be found in a beehive, then why are we using it and burning holes in bees bodies which vectors in disease then like AFB, EFB, etc?
Dee A. Lusby
Tucson, Arizona

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