Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 7, pp 6035–6047 | Cite as

Element content of propolis collected from different areas of South Spain



The aim of this work is to determine the content of essential and toxic elements in 25 raw propolis samples, when considering pollution agents and geographical and botanical factors. The microwave-assisted digestion was the most reliable and accurate method for determination of inorganic elements in propolis samples. The results were obtained using certified reference materials in a good agreement with certified values. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy was used for the determination of 23 macro- and microelements (Ag, Al, As, B, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, P, Pb, S, Sb, Se, Si, Sn, and Zn). A Mercury analyzer was also utilized for the detection of the total Hg. Among the analyzed metals, Ca, K, Mg, Zn, Si, S, Fe, Al, P, and Na were found to be the most predominant. Heavy metals (As, Cd, Hg, and Pb) were determined in minimal concentration, and Pb was the highest mean contained toxic (<3.80 mg/kg), without influence on provisional tolerable weekly intake values. The method can be applied for routine analysis and quality and environmental pollution controls of toxic elements in propolis samples. The results obtained indicate no pollution of the collection areas and naturally high concentration of Al (460 ± 62.2 mg/kg).


Propolis Heavy metals Trace elements ICP-AES Mercury analyzer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research and Development of Nederland CoViladecans (Barcelona)Spain
  2. 2.Apinevada Analytical Laboratory of Bee ProductsLanjarónSpain

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