Topic Editors

Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco, Quinta da Senhora de Mércules, 6001-909 Castelo Branco, Portugal

Biological Activities and Chemical Composition of Bee Products and Derivatives

Abstract submission deadline
31 March 2024
Manuscript submission deadline
30 June 2024
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9927

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Honey is produced by honeybees, particularly Apis mellifera but also by A. cerana, A. dorsata, and by stingless bees (Melipona spp., Trigona spp.). However, other bee products can be obtained, such as bee pollen, bee bread, bee brood, propolis, beeswax, royal jelly, and bee venom. The products of stingless bees also include geopropolis or cerumen and pollen. The chemical composition and biological properties of bee products are highly dependent on several factors, including geographical origin, vegetation surrounding beehives, bee species, soils, and water quality. The economic importance of bee products is high since some of them can be used as food or food ingredients, and others as medicines owing to their medical and curative properties. However, this myriad of biological properties needs to be normalized, which also implies a chemical normalization and absence of contaminants or the lowest levels permitted by law. The in vivo assays of some bee products, including clinical ones, must also be improved and well characterized in order to guarantee their efficacy if intended to be used as medicine, beyond the quality and safety also required for food or food ingredients. All research and review articles dealing with chemical composition, in vitro and in vivo biological properties, clinical trials of bee products, new formulations in order to increase activity using nanotechnologies, or the use of bee products as food ingredients will be welcome for possible publication in one of five journals: Antioxidants, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Molecules, Current Issues in Molecular Biology and BioChem.

Dr. Maria da Graça Costa G. Miguel
Prof. Dr. Ofelia Anjos
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • honeybees
  • stingless bees
  • quality
  • chemical composition
  • food ingredients
  • medicines
  • clinical assays
  • analytical methods
  • biological properties
  • bee products
  • storage
  • packaging

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ijms
5.6 7.8 2000 16.8 Days CHF 2900 Submit
Molecules
molecules
4.6 6.7 1996 13.6 Days CHF 2700 Submit
Antioxidants
antioxidants
7.0 8.8 2012 14.4 Days CHF 2900 Submit
Current Issues in Molecular Biology
cimb
3.1 2.4 1999 16.5 Days CHF 2000 Submit
BioChem
biochem
- - 2021 15.0 days * CHF 1000 Submit
Foods
foods
5.2 5.8 2012 15.9 Days CHF 2900 Submit

* Median value for all MDPI journals in the first half of 2023.


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Published Papers (7 papers)

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14 pages, 3556 KiB  
Article
The Chemical Composition of Scaptotrigona mexicana Honey and Propolis Collected in Two Locations: Similarities and Differences
Foods 2023, 12(17), 3317; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12173317 - 03 Sep 2023
Viewed by 720
Abstract
The chemical composition of stingless bee honey and propolis depends on the plant sources they are derived from, and thus reflects the flora available in the vicinity of the hives, the preferences of the bee species, and the climate (altitude and temperature). To [...] Read more.
The chemical composition of stingless bee honey and propolis depends on the plant sources they are derived from, and thus reflects the flora available in the vicinity of the hives, the preferences of the bee species, and the climate (altitude and temperature). To understand the relative influence of these factors, we studied the composition of honey and propolis of the stingless bee Scaptotrigona mexicana. Samples from 24 colonies were analyzed: 12 each from two S. mexicana meliponaries located in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, approximately 8.5 km apart, Tuxtla Chico and Cacahoatán. The chemical composition of honey and propolis was studied using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), respectively. The antioxidant activity of propolis was also studied. Chemometric analyses were applied. The Tuxtla Chico honey samples contained higher concentrations of glucose and fructose, while the Cacahoatán samples displayed a rich composition of di- and trisaccharides. These differences can be attributed to the distinct nectar sources utilized by the bees at each location. Propolis compositions in the two locations also demonstrated qualitative differences, indicating a specific choice of resins by the bees. The observed substantial variations in the chemical composition of propolis and honey of S. mexicana from two locations relatively close to each other supports the assumption that bee species cannot be considered the most important factor in determining their chemistry. Full article
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20 pages, 1867 KiB  
Review
Difficulties in Establishing the Adverse Effects of β-Casomorphin-7 Released from β-Casein Variants—A Review
Foods 2023, 12(17), 3151; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12173151 - 22 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1646
Abstract
β-Casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is a peptide released through the proteolysis of β-casein (β-CN), which is considered a bioactive peptide displaying evidence of promoting the binding and activation of the μ-opioid receptor located in various body parts, such as the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system [...] Read more.
β-Casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is a peptide released through the proteolysis of β-casein (β-CN), which is considered a bioactive peptide displaying evidence of promoting the binding and activation of the μ-opioid receptor located in various body parts, such as the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system and potentially the central nervous system. The possible effects of BCM-7 on health are a theme rising in popularity due to evidence found in several studies on the modulation of gastrointestinal proinflammatory responses that can trigger digestive symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort. With the advancement of studies, the hypothesis that there is a correlation of the possible effects of BCM-7 with the microbiota–gut–brain axis has been established. However, some studies have suggested the possibility that these adverse effects are restricted to a portion of the population, and the topic is controversial due to the small number of in vivo studies, which makes it difficult to obtain more conclusive results. In addition, a threshold of exposure to BCM-7 has not yet been established to clarify the potential of this peptide to trigger physiological responses at gastrointestinal and systemic levels. The proportion of the population that can be considered more susceptible to the effects of BCM-7 are evidenced in the literature review. The challenges of establishing the adverse effects of BCM-7 are discussed, including the importance of quantifying the BCM-7 release in the different β-CN genotypes. In summary, the reviewed literature provides plausible indications of the hypothesis of a relationship between β-CN A1/BCM-7 and adverse health effects; however, there is need for further, especially in vivo studies, to better understand and confirm the physiological effects of this peptide. Full article
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16 pages, 2362 KiB  
Article
The Comparison of Honey Enriched with Laboratory Fermented Pollen vs. Natural Bee Bread in Terms of Nutritional and Antioxidant Properties, Protein In Vitro Bioaccessibility, and Its Genoprotective Effect in Yeast Cells
Molecules 2023, 28(15), 5851; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28155851 - 03 Aug 2023
Viewed by 701
Abstract
The aim of the study was to compare the nutritional value and bioactivity of honey enriched with a 10% addition of natural bee bread and its substitutes obtained as a result of laboratory fermentation of bee pollen. Physicochemical parameters, antioxidant properties, as well [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to compare the nutritional value and bioactivity of honey enriched with a 10% addition of natural bee bread and its substitutes obtained as a result of laboratory fermentation of bee pollen. Physicochemical parameters, antioxidant properties, as well as the bioaccessibility of proteins using an in vitro static digestion model were analyzed. The bioactivity of the obtained enriched honeys was tested using the yeast model. The research indicates the similarity of honeys with the addition of “artificial bee bread” to honey with natural ones. During in vitro digestion, good bioaccessibility of the protein from the tested products was demonstrated. The ability of the products to protect yeast cells against hydrogen superoxide-induced oxidative stress was demonstrated using a qualitative spot test, which was stronger in the case of enriched honey than in pure rapeseed control honey. Significant inhibition of the growth of both strains of yeast exposed to bee pollen-enriched honeys was also demonstrated. Furthermore, all tested samples showed significant genoprotective activity against the genotoxic effect of zeocin and the reduction of the number of DNA double-strand breaks by a minimum of 70% was observed. Full article
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21 pages, 3390 KiB  
Article
Phytochemical and Bioactivity Studies on Hedera helix L. (Ivy) Flower Pollen and Ivy Bee Pollen
Antioxidants 2023, 12(7), 1394; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox12071394 - 06 Jul 2023
Viewed by 895
Abstract
Bee pollen, known as a ‘life-giving dust’, is a product of honeybees using flower pollen grains and combining them with their saliva secretions. Thus, flower pollen could be an indicator of the bee pollen botanical source. Identification of bee pollen sources is a [...] Read more.
Bee pollen, known as a ‘life-giving dust’, is a product of honeybees using flower pollen grains and combining them with their saliva secretions. Thus, flower pollen could be an indicator of the bee pollen botanical source. Identification of bee pollen sources is a highly crucial process for the evaluation of its health benefits, as chemical composition is directly related to its pharmacological activity. In this study, the chemical profiles, contents of phenolic marker compounds and pharmacological activities of Hedera helix L. (ivy) bee pollen samples from Türkiye and Slovenia, as well as ivy flower pollen grains, were compared. High-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) analyses revealed that pollen samples, regardless of where they were collected, have similar chemical profiles due to the fact that they have the same botanical origins. Marker compounds afzelin, platanoside and quercetin-3-O-β-glucopyranosyl-(1→2)-β-galactopyranoside, common to both bee pollen and flower pollen, were isolated from bee pollen, and their structures were elucidated by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS). These three compounds, as well as chlorogenic acid and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (found in flower pollen), were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses. In vitro tests and effect-directed analyses were used to evaluate the xanthine oxidase inhibition and antioxidant activity of the marker compounds and extracts from flower pollen and bee pollen. This is the first report comparing chemical profiles and related bioactivities of the flower pollen and bee pollen of the same botanical origin, as well as the first report of the chemical profile and related bioactivities of ivy flower pollen. Full article
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17 pages, 6181 KiB  
Article
Network Pharmacology and Molecular Docking Analysis of Active Compounds in Tualang Honey against Atherosclerosis
Foods 2023, 12(9), 1779; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12091779 - 25 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1736
Abstract
Atherosclerosis, a pathological condition marked by the accumulation of lipids and fibrous substances in the arterial walls, is a leading cause of heart failure and death. The present study aimed to utilize network pharmacology to assess the potential pharmacological effects of bioactive compounds [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis, a pathological condition marked by the accumulation of lipids and fibrous substances in the arterial walls, is a leading cause of heart failure and death. The present study aimed to utilize network pharmacology to assess the potential pharmacological effects of bioactive compounds in Tualang honey on atherosclerosis. This is significant as previous studies have indicated the cardioprotective effects of Tualang honey, yet a comprehensive evaluation using network pharmacology has yet to be conducted. The bioactive compounds in Tualang honey were screened and the potential gene targets for these compounds were predicted through Swiss Target Prediction and SuperPred databases. Atherosclerosis genes were retrieved from the OMIM, DisGeNet, and GeneCards databases. The interaction between these compounds and atherosclerosis genes was established through protein–protein interaction, gene ontology, and KEGG pathway analysis. The results of these analyses were then further confirmed through molecular docking studies using the AutoDock Tools software. The results revealed that 6 out of 103 compounds in Tualang honey met the screening criteria, with a total of 336 potential gene targets, 238 of which were shared with atherosclerosis. Further analysis showed that these active compounds had a good affinity with key targets and were associated with biological processes related to protein phosphorylation and inflammation as well as pathways related to lipid and atherosclerosis and other signaling pathways. In conclusion, the study provides insight into the potential pharmacological effects of Tualang honey bioactive compounds on atherosclerosis, supporting its use as a promising treatment for the disease. Full article
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13 pages, 5875 KiB  
Article
Propolis Ethanolic Extract Attenuates D-gal-induced C2C12 Cell Injury by Modulating Nrf2/HO-1 and p38/p53 Signaling Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(7), 6408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24076408 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1313
Abstract
Previous study has shown that propolis ethanolic extract (PEE) has a protective effect on aging skeletal muscle atrophy. However, the exact molecular mechanism remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effect of PEE on D-galactose (D-gal)-induced damage in mouse C2C12 cells. The [...] Read more.
Previous study has shown that propolis ethanolic extract (PEE) has a protective effect on aging skeletal muscle atrophy. However, the exact molecular mechanism remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effect of PEE on D-galactose (D-gal)-induced damage in mouse C2C12 cells. The results revealed that PEE increased the viability of senescent C2C12 cells, decreased the number of senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-Gal)-positive cells and promoted the differentiation of C2C12 cells. PEE resisted oxidative stress caused by D-gal by activating the Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway and maintained the differentiation ability of C2C12 cells. PEE inhibited apoptosis by suppressing p38 phosphorylation and reducing p53 expression. In summary, our findings reveal the molecular mechanism by which PEE protects D-gal-induced C2C12 cells, providing a theoretical basis for the development of PEE for the alleviation of muscle atrophy. Full article
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20 pages, 8667 KiB  
Article
Histological, Immunohistochemical and Antioxidant Analysis of Skin Wound Healing Influenced by the Topical Application of Brazilian Red Propolis
Antioxidants 2022, 11(11), 2188; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11112188 - 04 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1917
Abstract
Skin wound healing is a complex process that requires the mutual work of cellular and molecular agents to promote tissue restoration. In order to improve such a process, especially in cases of impaired healing (e.g., diabetic ulcer, chronic wounds), there is a search [...] Read more.
Skin wound healing is a complex process that requires the mutual work of cellular and molecular agents to promote tissue restoration. In order to improve such a process, especially in cases of impaired healing (e.g., diabetic ulcer, chronic wounds), there is a search for substances with healing properties and low toxicity: two features that some natural products—such as the bee product named propolis—exhibit. Propolis is a resinous substance obtained from plant resins and exudates with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumoral activities, among other biological ones. Based on the previously reported healing actions of different types of propolis, the Brazilian red propolis (BRP) was tested for this matter. A skin wound excision model in male Wistar rats was performed using two topical formulations with 1% red propolis as treatments: hydroalcoholic extract and Paste. Macroscopical, histological and immunohistochemical analysis were performed, revealing that red propolis enhanced wound contraction, epithelialization, reduced crust formation, and modulated the distribution of healing associated factors, mainly collagen I, collagen III, MMP-9, TGF-β3 and VEGF. Biochemical analysis with the antioxidants SOD, MPO, GSH and GR showed that propolis acts similarly to the positive control, collagenase, increasing these molecules’ activity. These results suggest that BRP promotes enhanced wound healing by modulating growth factors and antioxidant molecules related to cutaneous wound healing. Full article
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