Antioxidant properties, element contents and antimicrobial activities of bee pollen collected by Apis mellifera L. in Türkiye

Keywords: antimicrobial activity, antioxidant activity, melissopalynological analysis, bee products, elements, pollen


Aim of study: Recently, pollen has become a preferred nutritional supplement because of its complex composition. We examined the botanical origin, total phenolic/flavonoid content (TPC/TFC), antioxidant/antimicrobial activity, and element content of pollen samples collected from honeybees. This study also examined whether the elements contained in pollen, when consumed as food, posed a risk to human health.

Area of study: Ten mixed pollen samples were randomly collected from honeybees in the apiaries of four different Turkish regions, which fall among the three phytogeographic regions of Türkiye.

Material and methods: We evaluated total flavonoid (TFC) and phenolic (TPC) contents; antioxidant activities (radical scavenging activity, hydrogen peroxide scavenging activity - HPSA, ferric reducing antioxidant power - FRAP, and ferrous ion chelating activity - FICA), element concentrations and antimicrobial activity.

Main results: According to the melissopalynological analysis, one sample was determined to be unifloral and nine samples were found to be multifloral. The values found ranged 271.42-601.85 mg GAE/100 g TPC, 23.53-34.50 mg CAE/100 g TFC, 22.19-23.78 μg/mL DPPH, 6.50-78.40 µg/mL ABTS, 20.43-150.94 μg/mL HPSA, 97.26-99.83% FRAP and 74.84-91.79% FICA. Rosmanic acid, p-coumaric acid, quercetin, apigenin, and naringin were identified in all samples, while catechin was detected only in S6 and S7. Element contents were found Mg > Fe > Mn > Zn > Cu > Se > Cr > Ni > Cd > Co. All the samples had high antibacterial activity against Bacillus cereus (MIC= 4.17-8.33 g/mL), and against Staphylococcus aureus (MIC= 8.33 g/mL), except S3 and S4.

Research highlights: Different levels and combinations of these components are efficient in the antioxidant and antibacterial activity of pollen.


Download data is not yet available.


Adaškevičiūtė V, Kaškonienė V, Kaškonas P, Barčauskaitė K, Maruška A, 2019. Comparison of physicochemical properties of bee pollen with other bee products. Biomolecules 9(12): 819.

Aldgini HMM, Abdullah Al-Abbadi A, Abu-Nameh ESM, Alghazeer RO, 2019. Determination of metals as bio indicators in some selected bee pollen samples from Jordan. Saudi J Biol Sci 26: 1418-1422.

Alimoglu G, Guzelmeric E, Yuksel PI, Celik C, Deniz I, Yesilada E, 2021. Monofloral and polyfloral bee pollens: Comparative evaluation of their phenolics and bioactivity profiles. LWT 142: 110973.

Azanu D, Styrishave B, Darko G, Weisser JJ, Abaidoo RC, 2018. Occurrence and risk assessment of antibiotics in water and lettuce in Ghana. Sci Total Environ 622: 293-305.

Basim E, Basim H, Özcan M, 2006. Antibacterial activities of Turkish pollen and propolis extracts against plant bacterial pathogens. J Food Eng 77: 992-996.

Blois MS, 1958. Antioxidant determinations by the use of a stable free radical. Nature 181: 1199-1200.

Bottone EJ, 2010. Bacillus cereus, a volatile human pathogen. Clin Microbiol Rev 23: 382-398.

Campanile F, Bongiorno D, Perez M, Mongelli G, Sessa L, Benvenuto S, et al., 2015. Epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus in Italy: first nationwide survey, 2012. J Glob Antimicrob Resist 3: 247-254.

Chung YC, Chang CT, Chao WW, Lin CF, Chou ST, 2002. Antioxidative activity and safety of the 50 ethanolic extract from red bean fermented by Bacillus subtilis IMR-NK1. J Agric Food Chem 50: 2454-2458.

Davis PH, 1965-1985. Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. Edinburgh University Press.

De-Melo AAM, Estevinho LM, Moreira MM, Delerue-Matos C, de Freitas ADS, Barth OM, de Almeida-Muradian LB, 2018. A multivariate approach based on physicochemical parameters and biological potential for the botanical and geographical discrimination of Brazilian bee pollen. Food Biosci 25: 91-110.

De Souza RR, de Abreu VHR, de Novais JS, 2019. Melissopalynology in Brazil: a map of pollen types and published productions between 2005 and 2017. Palynology 43: 690-700.

Defays D, 1977. An efficient algorithm for a complete link method. Comput J 20: 364-366.

Demir F, Kipcak AS, Dere Ozdemir O, Moroydor Derun E, 2020. Determination of essential and non-essential element concentrations and health risk assessment of some commercial fruit juices in Turkey. J Food Sci Technol 57(12): 4432-4442.

Denisow B, Denisow-Pietrzyk M, 2016. Biological and therapeutic properties of bee pollen: a review. J Sci Food Agr 96: 4303-4309.

Di Paola-Naranjo RD, Sánchez-Sánchez J, González-Paramás AMA, Rivas-Gonzalo JC, 2004. Liquid chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis of anthocyanin composition of dark blue bee pollen from Echium plantagineum. J Chromatogr A 1054: 205-210.

Dinis TC, Madeira VM, Almeida LM, 1994. Action of phenolic derivatives (acetaminophen, salicylate, and 5-aminosalicylate) as inhibitors of membrane lipid peroxidation and as peroxyl radical scavengers. Arch Biochem Biophys 315: 161-169.

Dinkov D, Stratev D, 2016. The content of two toxic heavy metals in Bulgarian bee pollen. Int Food Res J 23: 1343.

Erik S, Tarıkahya B, 2004. Türkiye Florası Üzerine. Kebikeç 17.

Freire KR, Lins A, Dórea MC, Santos FA, Camara CA, Silva T, 2012. Palynological origin, phenolic content, and antioxidant properties of honeybee-collected pollen from Bahia, Brazil. Molecules 17: 1652-1664.

Freitas A, de Arruda VAS, de Almeida-Muradian LB, Barth OM, 2013. The botanical profiles of dried bee pollen loads collected by Apis mellifera (Linnaeus) in Brazil. Sociobiology 60: 56-64.

Gökce H, Alpaslan YB, Zeyrek CT, Ağar E, Güder A, Özdemir N, Alpaslan G, 2019. Structural, spectroscopic, radical scavenging activity, molecular docking and DFT studies of a synthesized Schiff base compound. J Mol Struct 1179: 205-215.

Harif Fadzilah N, Jaapar MF, Jajuli R, Wan Omar WA, 2017. Total phenolic content, total flavonoid and antioxidant activity of ethanolic bee pollen extracts from three species of Malaysian stingless bee. J Apic Res 56: 130-135.

Hotelling H, 1933. Analysis of a complex of statistical variables into principal components. J Educ Psychol 24: 417.

Kao YT, Lu MJ, Chen C, 2011. Preliminary analyses of phenolic compounds and antioxidant activities in tea pollen extracts. J Food Drug Anal 19(4): 3.

Karkar B, Şahin S, Güneş ME, 2018. Antioxidative effect of Turkish chestnut bee pollen on DNA oxidation system and its phenolic compounds. The Journal of Food 43: 34-42.

Kaškonienė V, Adaškevičiūtė V, Kaškonas P, Mickienė R, Maruška A, 2020. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of natural and fermented bee pollen. Food Biosci 34: 100532.

Komosinska-Vassev K, Olczyk P, Kaźmierczak J, Mencner L, Olczyk K, 2015. Bee pollen: Chemical composition and therapeutic application. Evid-based Compl Altern Med 2015: 297425.

Lau P, Bryant V, Ellis JD, Huang ZY, Sullivan J, Schmehl DR, et al., 2019. Seasonal variation of pollen collected by honey bees (Apis mellifera) in developed areas across four regions in the United States. PLoS One 14(6): e0217294.

Liu F, Ooi V, Chang S, 1997. Free radicals scavenging activity of mushroom polysaccharide extract. J Life Sci 60: 763-771.

Mateo R, Bosch-Reig F, 1998. Classification of Spanish unifloral honeys by discriminant analysis of electrical conductivity, color, water content, sugars, and pH. J Agric Food Chem 46: 393-400.

Miura K, Kikuzaki H, Nakatani N, 2002. Antioxidant activity of chemical components from sage (Salvia officinalis L.) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) measured by the oil stability index method. J Agric Food Chem 50: 1845-1851.

Mutlu B, Karakuş Ş, 2015. A new species of Sisymbrium (Brassicaceae) from Turkey: Morphological and molecular evidence. Turk J Bot 39: 325-333.

Nikolaieva N, Kačániová M, González JC, Grygorieva O, Nôžková J, 2019. Determination of microbiological contamination, antibacterial and antioxidant activities of natural plant hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) pollen. J Environ Sci Health B 54: 525-532.

Oyaizu M, 1986. Studies on products of browning reaction antioxidative activities of products of browning reaction prepared from glucosamine. Japan J Nutr Diet 44: 307-315.

Özcan M, 2004. Inhibition of Aspergillus parasiticus NRRL 2999 by pollen and propolis extracts. J Med Food 7: 114-116.

Özcan MM, Aljuhaimi F, Babiker EE, Uslu N, Ceylan DA, Ghafoor K, et al., 2019. Determination of antioxidant activity, phenolic compound, mineral contents and fatty acid compositions of bee pollen grains collected from different locations. J Apic Sci 63: 69-79.

Özkalp B, Özcan MM, 2010. Antibacterial activity of pollen and propolis extracts. J Food Agric Environ 8: 17-19.

Pascoal A, Rodrigues S, Teixeira A, Feás X, Estevinho LM, 2014. Biological activities of commercial bee pollens: Antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Food Chem Toxicol 63: 233-239.

Pearson K, 1895. Note on Regression and inheritance in the case of two parents. Proc R Soc London, Ser A 58: 240-242.

Rios J, Recio M, Villar A, 1988. Screening methods for natural products with antimicrobial activity: A review of the literature. J Ethnopharmacol 23: 127-149.

Roman A, Popiela-Pleban E, Migdał P, Kruszyński W, 2016. As, Cr, Cd, and Pb in bee products from a Polish industrialized region. Open Chem 14: 33-36.

Ruch RJ, Cheng SJ, Klaunig JE, 1989. Prevention of cytotoxicity and inhibition of intercellular communication by antioxidant catechins isolated from Chinese green tea. Carcinogenesis 10: 1003-1008.

Rzepecka-Stojko A, Stojko J, Kurek-Górecka A, Górecki M, Kabała-Dzik A, Kubina R, et al., 2015. Polyphenols from bee pollen: Structure, absorption, metabolism and biological activity. Molecules 20: 21732-21749.

Sardar AA, Khan ZD, Perveen A, Farid S, Khan IU, 2014. In vitro antioxidant potential and free radical scavenging activity of various extracts of pollen of Typha domigensis Pers. Pak J Pharm Sci 27(2): 279-284.

Shapiro SS, Wilk MB, 1965. An analysis of variance test for normality (complete samples). Biometrika 52: 591-611.

Singh DD, Thind PS, Sharma M, Sahoo S, John S, 2019. Environmentally sensitive elements in groundwater of an industrial town in India: Spatial distribution and human health risk. Water 11(11): 2350.

Slinkard K, Singleton VL, 1977. Total phenol analysis: automation and comparison with manual methods. Am J Enol Vitic 28: 49-55.

Spearman C, 1904. 'General intelligence,' objectively determined and measured. Am J Commun Psychol 15: 201-293.

Sun L, Guo Y, Zhang Y, Zhuang Y, 2017. Antioxidant and anti-tyrosinase activities of phenolic extracts from rape bee pollen and inhibitory melanogenesis by cAMP/MITF/TYR pathway in B16 mouse melanoma cells. Front Pharmacol 8: 104.

Temizer IK, Guder A, Turkmen Z, Celemli OG, 2017. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis, chemical contents and antioxidant properties of Onobrychis spp.(Fabaceae) pollen collected by honeybees. Fresenius Environ Bull 26: 962-968.

Temizer İK, Güder A, Temel FA, Esin A, 2018. A comparison of the antioxidant activities and biomonitoring of heavy metals by pollen in the urban environments. Environ Monit Assess 190: 462.

Temizer İK, Güder A, Türkmen Z, 2019. Assessment of palynological characterization and total phenol-flavonoid content of some honeys from Ordu in Turkey. Erzincan Üniversitesi Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü Dergisi 12: 1275-1282.

TSMS, 2022. Turkish State of Meteorological Service, TSMS (2021). [02/07/2022].

Tutun H, Aluç Y, Kahraman HA, Sevin S, Yipel M, Ekici H, 2022. The content and health risk assessment of selected elements in bee pollen and propolis from Turkey. J Food Compos Anal 105: 104234.

Wiegand I, Hilpert K, Hancock RE, 2008. Agar and broth dilution methods to determine the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antimicrobial substances. Nature Protocols 3: 163.

Wodehouse RP, 1935. Pollen grains. McGraw-Hill Book Co., NY.

Zafeiraki E, Kasiotis KM, Nisianakis P, Manea-Karga E, Machera K, 2022. Occurrence and human health risk assessment of mineral elements and pesticides residues in bee pollen. Food Chem Toxicol 161: 112826.

How to Cite
Kizilpinar-TemizerI., GuderA., CandanE. D., & YolcuU. (2022). Antioxidant properties, element contents and antimicrobial activities of bee pollen collected by Apis mellifera L. in Türkiye. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 20(4), e0506.
Animal health and welfare