The current characterization of pollen contained in honey is carried out by melissopalynology, which is a meticulous technique based in the identification of the each pollen structure and the further counting to determine if a honey is monofloral or polyfloral. Amazingly each flower produces a specific pollen with a defined structure, but as the honey is made from many flowers its health properties will depend upon each flowers proportions. However, this technique takes many hours, it is carried out by specialists and it can lack robustness. Therefore in Hackuarium we have thought to use a molecular approach to know exactly which of the many pollen species are present in a honey sample.
BeemoSeq represents a project to complement BeeMoS - in this case specializing in the molecular barcoding from one of the many product coming from a bee hive... the honey.
The goal of BeeMoSeq is to create a link between the pollen and the flower origin by using a molecular barcode. Luckily for us, to achieve this goal Hackuarium has a good background in molecular biology, carrying out in the past two workshops for the community as the two versions of Open Food Repo.
We have already done a first PCR to show we can amplify the Rubisco's gene used for much plant species classifications, but we need to show we can get pollen from honey for the same molecular amplification. Luckily, we have four honey bottles that have been classically characterized, so we can compare the molecular IDs to those of the pollen expert!