Composition and content of fatty acids of various floral origin beebread collected in Lithuania and prepared for storage in different


  • V. Čeksterytė Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry
  • E. HJM Jansen National Institute for Public Health and the Environment



Important fatty acids counterparts in the diet are the ω-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid (ALA) and the ω-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA). The optimal ratio of unsaturated fatty acids (ω-6) : (ω-3) in the diet is thought to be 1 : 2, but in modern diet, however, this ratio is in unbalance (1: 15–20). Pollen and beebread is a source which partly could restore this unbalance.

The aim of the present study is to determine the content and composition of fatty acids in beebread after different preparation methods for storing. Beebread was collected from Institute of Agriculture, Lithuanian Research Centre and Forestry’s apiaries situated in different locations in 2009. The combs with beebread were distracted from the hives situated in four different locations in spring. Samples of beebread were dried at 35 °C or 40 °C to the moisture level of 8.0–10.0%. Parts of samples were wetting for 2 hours and dried at 40 °C. The other samples with fresh beebread were kept in the refrigerator at the 5–8 °C. The fatty acids were extracted, hydrolyzed and methylated in one step and analyzed by gas chromatography with FID detection (Varian Ass).

Oilseed rape (Brassica napus var. oleifera DC) pollen varied in the range from 54.5% to 80.0%, willow (Salix alba L., Salix caprea L.) from 8.8% to 34.6%. The highest content of α-linolenic acid (27.04% to 43.83%) was found in the all samples of beebread. The content of ω-6 linoleic acid ranged from 5.44% to 9.11%. Of all saturated acids, palmitic acid was present at the lowest content 20.5% and arachidic acid at the highest 2.82% in the samples of beebread containing the lowest amount of rape (Brassica napus var. oleifera DC) pollen 54.5% and highest willow (Salix alba L., Salix caprea L.) 34.6%. The highest content of palmitic acid 25.02-26.21% was observed in the samples where rape (Brassica napus var. oleifera DC) pollen accounted for 67.2% to 80.0%. The highest reduction in content of ω-6, ω-9 and saturated fatty acids was observed after wetting and drying beebread. Investigations of long-chain fatty acids of different botanical origin of beebread show that beebread has a higher and more suitable ratio of ω-3 / ω-6 for human diet than many plant oils.