Honey+: New reasons to care honey from the Natural Park of Montesinho: a bioindicator of environmental quality and its therapeutic potential (MTS/SAS/0077/2020)

Coordinator: Cristina Delerue Matos
UTAD/CITAB Coordinator: Irene Pereira Gouvinhas

Honey+ seeks to add value to a traditional food product by exploring new potentialities far beyond its nutritional value. The project aims to generate new knowledge on the potential of honey produced in the Natural Park of Montesinho (NPM) to serve as a bioindicator for environmental quality and to investigate its pharmacological properties. A multidisciplinary team composed of experts with strong skills in analytical chemistry, molecular biology, food science and technology, pharmacology and microbiology will intensely collaborate to accomplish the main goal of the project: the valorization of the honey from the NPM and, consequently, enhance the regional economy. To achieve this main goal, the following general objectives were established: to evaluate if honey can be useful as a bioindicator to assess environmental pollution: (1) the monitoring of different classes of pollutants in air, soil, water resources, plants and NPM honey will be performed and (2) to explore the therapeutic and pharmacological potential of the honey produced in the NPM using in-vivo assays. To achieve these objectives, the following specific objectives were defined: to develop analytical methodologies to detect and quantify the different classes of pollutants in environmental compartments and honey based on gas- and liquid chromatography; to develop MIP sensors for hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and pollutant analysis due to the need for inexpensive and easy-to-use analytical devices for the fast evaluation of the honey’s adulteration and the determination of pollutants levels after very simple sample preparation; to develop innovative tools based on molecular biology and genosensors for honey authentication to guarantee high quality and valued products; to characterize the physicochemical parameters of NPM honey samples collected at different locations in the Park; to assess in-vitro and in-vivo biological activities: biological effects will be evaluated using in-vitro assays, namely, inhibitory activity against enzymes related to dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol-lowering ability and inflammation, as well as antimicrobial activity. By integrating the knowledge generated during this interdisciplinary project the possibility to valorize honey as a bioindicator of environmental quality will be assessed, as well as the contribution to valorize the Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) honey produced in the NPM in terms of their chemical and biological properties.

Project Details





Start date

August 2021


36 months

Funding Entity


Total Financing


CITAB/UTAD Financing


Responsible institution

REQUIMTE - Rede de Química e Tecnologia


Associação dos Apicultores do Parque Natural de Montesinho (AAPNM)

University of Vigo (Spain)

Research Team