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Honey is a sweet product formed by the laborious honey bees from the nectar of flowers. A number of species of honey bees participate in the formation of honey which is later on collected by the beekeepers and finally consumed by humans. The nectar collected from flowers is converted into honey by honey bees with the help of a unique process known as regurgitation and is then stored in the honey combs inside the bee hive. Beekeeping practices encourage its overproduction so that large amount of honey can be extracted without damaging the bee colony. It obtains its sweetness from the monosaccharide sugars chiefly fructose and glucose and has the same relative sweetness like that of the granulated sugar. It comprises attractive chemical properties and is a good flavouring agent. Majority of microbes fail to grow in it because of its low water activity of 0.6. sometimes endospores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum remain suspended in honey and are toxic to infant’s intestinal tract resulting in death.

Honey has been used as a food product by human since ancient times and is used as a flavouring agent in a number of food fruits as well as in a number of beverages. It also deserves a special place in religion and culture. It is also used for treatment of a number of diseases. Presence of pollens and spores in honey determine its floral sources. It is formed by bees as a source of food. In winters as well in unfavourable conditions bees use stored honey as a source of energy. In a typical bee hive there is a single fertile queen, followed by a number of drones and 20,000-40,000 worker bees which are the soul of the colony. Worker bees rear the brood and collect nectar from flowers and convert it into honey. The nectar collected from flowers is first stored in the crop by the worker bee and is then regurgitated inside the honey comb. During regurgitation digestive secretion is also mixed with it so when it reaches the hive it becomes best in quality. The honey stored contains large amount of water so the water content is decreased by strong fanning of wings by the worker bee. Fanning prevents its fermentation and raises its sugar content. After storing it in the honey comb it is sealed by wax secreted by the worker bee.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5191617

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