Low Heating Effects on The Total Microbial Activity and Physico-Chemical Properties of Stingless Bee (Heterotrigona itama) Honey



  • Lee Chuen Ng Research Interest Group of Resource Sustainability (Bio-interaction and Crop Health), Laboratory of Pest, Disease and Microbial Biotechnology (LAPDiM), Faculty of Fisheries and Food Science (FFFS) https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8830-1649
  • Shamsul Bahri Abd Razak Faculty of Fisheries and Food Science (FFFS), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • Rudiyanto Faculty of Fisheries and Food Science (FFFS), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • Say Peng Tan Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), No. 6, Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia
  • Fauziah Tufail Ahmad Research Interest Group of Resource Sustainability (Bio-interaction and Crop Health), Laboratory of Pest, Disease and Microbial Biotechnology (LAPDiM), Faculty of Fisheries and Food Science (FFFS)


Microbiological, thermal treatment, microbial activity, apicultural industry


The high moisture content of stingless bee honey (SBH) is a worrisome problem and heat treatment is used to reduce the moisture and maintain the honey’s quality by destroying the microorganisms that affect the physico-chemical properties of honey during storage. Low heat treatment (45 °C) for 0, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min were conducted to determine the total microbial activity using fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis (FDA). The total microbial population that subsequently affected the physico-chemical properties was also analyzed. The total microbial activities of SBH were significantly reduced after thermal treatment at 45 °C for 90 min (63.76 µg FDA/g/h) and 120 min (62.43 µg FDA/g/h) compared with control (67.127 µg FDA/g/h). Also, the moisture content, electrical conductivity (EC), pH, and free acidity of the heat-treated SBH at all durations were significantly reduced compared with the control. The total microbial activity was detected as significantly correlated to bacterial and fungal populations, moisture content, EC, pH, and free acidity of low heat-treated SBH. Low heat treatment at 45 °C for 120 min was efficient to reduce the total microbial activity, and total acidity, and increasing the pH of SBH. Prolonging the heating duration is suggested to further reduce the water content, and total microbial activity and further increase the shelf life of SBH.


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How to Cite

Ng, L. C., Abd Razak, S. B., Rudiyanto, Tan, S. P. ., & Tufail Ahmad, F. (2023). Low Heating Effects on The Total Microbial Activity and Physico-Chemical Properties of Stingless Bee (Heterotrigona itama) Honey. Malaysian Applied Biology, 52(1), 43–52. https://doi.org/10.55230/mabjournal.v52i1.2442



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