Honey can be a potent “biomonitor” to gauge pollution

Mar 13, 2019, 7:44 AM EDT
(Source: Mr.TinDC/flickr)
(Source: Mr.TinDC/flickr)

Honey can provide a “beautiful chemical snapshot of the environment” in urban cities and, hence, can be a potent “biomonitor” to gauge pollution levels, says a new study done at the University of British Columbia.

Because honey bees interact with virtually every component of their surroundings — the air, the water, the soil as they collect nectar and pollens — the fingerprints of the environment can be studied from honey samples, notes Earther.

What’s more fascinating about monitoring pollution with honey is that isotopic traces of contaminants, such as lead, can help researchers pinpoint the sources of pollution as well, writes Eurek Alert.

It would be an exaggeration to present this kind of data analysis as a “catch-all solution,” but developing nations, with no or limited access to costly, sophisticated monitoring technologies, could sure be the beneficiaries of the technique.