West-Bank of Palestine is characterized to have all aridity categories in its small
footprint (5,640 km2
), being non-arid in the north-west, semiarid in the middle, and arid
in the south-east. Such sensitive geographic setting has a major effect and diversity of
honey bees and subsequently the quality of produced honey from the region.
Honey quality is of great importance to consumer’s health and marketing
potential that directly affected by flora, climate, processing and storage conditions. In
general, the guidelines are not stabilized and were different from country to country
concerning the maximum residue limits for Oxytetracycline (OTC) and the suitability
of the standard quality parameters.
Honey samples were collected from Ramallah (South) and Jenin (North), West-
Bank, Palestine in 2018 and 2019. OTC residue levels, moisture,
Hydroxymethylfurfural, conductivity, acidity and diastase content were characterised
against local and international suitability and marketing regulations. OTC analysis was
carried out by HPLC using C8 analytical column, mobile phase consisting of
acetonitrile with 0.02 M oxalic acid and the samples were extracted by solid phase
extraction for antibiotics clean up. Other physiochemical quality parameters were
analysed using the international recommendations and guidelines.
The physiochemical quality parameters and antibiotic residues result showed
variability between the north and south samples. The noticeable physiochemical
properties difference was in the diastase and the conductivity that could be partially
reflected by the botanical origin. In 2018 season, up to 45% of the products from Jenin
and 20% from Ramallah were showed OTC in very high range (862.1 - 2177.2 ppb)
and (212.6 - 5460.1 ppb), respectively. Antibiotics residues can be easily managed and
even the risk from OTC antibiotic residues is not particularly high. However, antibiotics
combination would be of great health impact and risk especially if used for adulteration
not only a contaminant from the environment. The sensitive-aridity model of Palestine
with one of the most diverse area, West-Bank, could be of great use in studying
beekeeping sustainability at multiple levels.