Chemical Composition of Bee Pollen
Pp. 67-88 (22)
Maria G. Campos, Lokutova Olena and Ofélia Anjos
Bee pollen, usually used as an important source of nutrients and
micronutrients for the young bees in the hive, is also an important food for humans.
This product is very rich in proteins, lipids, free sugars, carbohydrates, and it contains
trace amounts of minerals, phenolic acids, flavonoids and a good range of vitamins. A
brief look at bee pollen composition, it is easily recognised that it is a balanced food
that can be used as a stand-alone food or as a nutritional supplement or even as a
medicinal product. Several bioactivities, due to some of these compounds, were studied
in bee pollen samples from different floral sources and the results conduce to important
properties. The amount and diversity of micronutrients could induce vast benefits if
used for health purposes following a complete risk assessment. Nevertheless, the
results pointing towards the encouraged use of bee pollen, the risk assessment of some
floral species containing toxic compounds has not been fully studied to insure the
safety of consumption for all the gathered flowers, so this will also be discussed in this
chapter. Admiration for its goodness and medicinal properties, bee pollen has been
consumed for centuries, however, currently the efficacy and safety for all consumed
products, foods, supplements or medicines is an important tool to guarantee correct
quality control and essential to add value to the product.
To summarise, in this chapter we will put the situation of gaps in bee pollen research
into some kind of perspective, outlining some important points and discussing in more
depth the implications of collecting samples, chemical composition and risk
Apis mellifera, Chemical composition, Collecting, Dietary product,
Food, Gametophyte, Medicinal product, Micronutrients, Nutrients, Nutritional
supplement, Pollen, Risk assessment.
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Health Sciences Campus, Azinhaga de Santa Comba, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal.