Pot-Honey pp 363-373 | Cite as

Melipona favosa Pot-Honey from Venezuela

  • Patricia VitEmail author


The stingless bee Melipona favosa lives in the plains and coastal areas of Venezuela. It is a gentle bee known locally as “erica” and “maba.” This bee commonly nests in trees, walls, fence posts, and is kept in hives by traditional stingless beekeepers. Its honey can ferment inside sealed storage pots of the nest. Therefore, the sensory attribute fermented is interpreted as an ability of Meliponini to process their honey with microorganisms, not as a defect like unripe honey extracted from combs. Fermentation may continue after harvest. The honey composition for a set of five honeys from different hives, some biological activities and sensory attributes are discussed from the database of 40 M. favosa honey samples from Venezuela. This type of pot-honey has a distinctive floral smell, sour–sweet taste and light amber color. Odor and aroma of M. favosa honey are more floral-fruity and fermented than that of A. mellifera, with an additional sensory hallmark that is the odor of the hive or nest. Compared to honey standards of A. mellifera, modified reference values may be adopted for M. favosa honey considering: (1) Increased maximum values for water content, sucrose, and free acidity, (2) Decreased minimum value for reducing sugars, (3) Nitrogen content (10.0–100.0 mgN/100 g), and (4) No variation in ash and HMF contents.


Free Acidity Sensory Attribute Honey Sample Botanical Origin Comb Honey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



To a 10-year-old child—my youngest brother Leonardo Vit, who found a hole with the face of a bee living inside a brick, in a wall of my parents’ garden. To the memory of Mr. Ramón Álvarez, who carefully kept the “erica” meliponary in the Paraguaná Peninsula. To the late Prof. João MF Camargo, Biology Department, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, for the identification of the bee. To “erica” keepers throughout Venezuela for their essential role in transmitting the tradition and the valuable pot-honeys that made this research possible: Mr. Rafael Obregón (Guasdualito, Apure state), Mr. Simón Cananeo (Vía Elorza, Apure state), Mr. Esteban Locsi (Barrancas, Barinas state), Mr. Francisco Oronoz (Guasipati, Bolívar state), Mr. Jacinto Cabrera (Las Manoas de Cariaco, Sucre state), Mr. Santana Obando (Vericallar, Sucre state), Mr. Amadeo Zavala (San Francisco de Macanao, Nueva Esparta state), Mr. Ramón Campos (Salamanca, Nueva Esparta state), Mr. Luis Martínez (Araguaimujo, Delta Amacuro state), Mrs. Natacha Ceccarelli (Acarigua, Portuguesa state). To the careful advice of Dr. Livia Persano Oddo after reading this manuscript, Dr. Tim Heard from CSIRO Ecosystem Science, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and Dr. D.W. Roubik for reviewing the English expressions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Apitherapy and Bioactivity, Food Science Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and BioanalysisUniversidad de Los AndesMéridaVenezuela
  2. 2.Cancer Research Group, Discipline of Biomedical ScienceThe University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia

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