The evaluation of mercury in honey bees and their products from eastern Slovakia

Tomas Toth, Miriama Kopernická, Raslislav Sabo, Tatiana Kopernicka


Heavy metals are a major source of environmental pollution, and have a significant impact on ecological quality of the environment. The human activity affects the environment so there is a high risk of metal accumulation. Heavy metals contaminate not only the environment but accumulate in the human body, from which it is difficult to degrade them. The long tradition of beekeeping in the world is proof that bees are irreplaceable and important pollinators of plants and crops, which are necessary to maintain the prosperity of agriculture. Beekeeping up to the present is still popular and is ecologically and economically significant. The aim of this study was to determine total mercury content in the body of bees and their products (bee pollen, honey) of selected locations in eastern Slovakia, evaluation of obtained results according to current standards and compared to the values established by the Food Codex of the Slovak Republic and The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), according to which mercury is a metal that is released into the environment from both natural sources and as a result of human activity. The mercury element can occur as inorganic mercury (mercurous (Hg22+) and mercuric (Hg2+) cations), and organic mercury. Methylmercury (MeHg) is by far the most common form of organic mercury in the food chain. The tested bees and their products were collected from apiaries located in the area of the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice and the apiary in Rozhanovce. The evaluation of the impact of environmental contamination by hazardous substances is very important regards to the protection of bees and not least to protect the health of people as consumers of food products containing residues of industrial production.


mercury, honey bee, bee pollen, honey

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