Unravelling the beehive air volatiles profile as analysed via solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and chemometrics

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Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

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Research Article

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Journal of King Saud University - Science

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Objective: Beehive air therapy is recognized as a potential remedy for treating asthma, bronchitis, lung fibrosis, and respiratory tract infections. Developed countries in which beehive air therapy is currently authorized include Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria. However, scientific proof of its efficacy is lacking which warrants further chemical and biological analyses as a proof of concept. In this study, beehive air volatile profile was determined for the first time along with its individual components (bees, venom, honey, and beeswax). Methods: Volatile compounds were collected from beehive air using solid phase micro-extraction (SPME) coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Antimicrobial assay of the air released from 4 beehive products was further performed against Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and multi drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) using the in vitro agar-well diffusion and microtiter plate assays. Results and conclusions: A total of 56 volatile compounds were identified from beehive air, venom, bee insect and wax air including 6 fatty acids, 6 alcohols, 10 aldehydes, 5 esters, 1 ether, 9 hydrocarbons, 1 phenol, 7 ketones, 1 nitrogenous compound and 10 terpenes. The most abundant constituents were short-chain fatty acids (26.32%) while the lowest were the nitrogenous compounds (0.82%). The principal component analysis (PCA) scores plot of the UPLC/MS dataset showed the similarity of the beehive air to the insect bee's aroma profile. With regards to antimicrobial assay, beehive air and venom exerted the strongest antimicrobial activity among the examined bee products against S. aureus, K. pneumoniae, A. baumannii, and MRSA in agar-well diffusion assay but failing to exert an effect using microtiter plate assay as in case of bee venom against the aforementioned bacteria.

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