Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract Full Text

Study on pollen grains in the honey samples of Howrah district, West Bengal, with reference to their occurrence in air in three different seasons.


Honey is an important food supplement of medicinal and nutritive value produced by honeybees. Pollen grains are important components which are included in honey, during foraging activities. Pollen diversity and quantity of honey of a particular locality determines its quality and characteristic feature. In the present study, pollen components are studied in honey samples (n = 12) collected from four sites (Tikiapara-Howrah, Domjur, Santragachhi and Uluberia) of Howrah district of West Bengal state, India, during winter (December-January), spring (February-March) and summer (April-May) of 2017-18. In microscopic analysis of acetolysed honey samples, most are found as multifloral type with presence of the pollen of Allium, Brassica, Coriandrum, Phoenix sylvestris, etc in winter, Asteraceae, Azadirachta indica, Mangifera indica, Psidium, etc. in spring and Borassus flabellifer, Cassia, Delonix, etc. in summer. Unifloral honey is also found in winter with predominance of Coriandrum pollen (> 45% of absolute pollen count, APC). Areopalynological survey was carried in Howrah using Burkard 7-day volumetric sampler during study period to observe the occurrence of pollen grains in air. Altogether 38 pollen types are found to be present in honey samples and atmosphere of Howrah. There are more than 25 pollen types, including Parthenium hysterophorus, which are already reported to be airborne and allergenic, contributed 10-25% of APC of honey. Consumption of honey containing allergenic pollen, may cause health hazard by inducing hypersensitive reaction in susceptible individual. In this context, proper analytical quality control of honey and general awareness development is extremely necessary for food safety.