Project snapshot: Increasing the value of Australian honey as a health food
Honey has a long history of use to treat digestive ailments and research suggests honey acts as a prebiotic food that favourably changes the balance...
Published: 13 May 2006
Author(s): Black, John
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This review identifies the current status of knowledge on the nutrition of honeybees and how this
knowledge could be applied to improve the focus of research and the practice of honey production in
Suboptimal nutrition is frequently associated with the use of eucalyptus species with high nectar
flows, but with small quantities of pollen and/or low quality pollen. The major production issues
related to the nutrition of honeybees in Australia are outlined in the Report. The sources of nutrients,
their intake and digestibility by honeybees and differences in nutritional quality between pollens are
discussed. The nutrient requirements of honeybees are determined as quantitatively as possible and
used to suggest specifications for artificial nectar and pollen substitutes.
The contribution of previous and current RIRDC funded research to knowledge of honeybee nutrition
is outlined and preliminary recommendations made on directions for future research and application of
knowledge to practice within the honeybee industry. Following a two-day meeting with apiarists and
scientists involved in honeybee research, a revised integrated program for honeybee nutrition research
is recommended for RIRDC to consider for funding.
This report, an addition to RIRDC’s diverse range of over 1500 research publications, forms part of
our Honeybee R&D program, which aims to improve the productivity and profitability of the
Australian beekeeping industry.