Antioxidant properties of mead
C. L. WINTERSTEEN1, N. C. Gheldof, and N. J. Engeseth. (1) Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, Rm 259 Edward Madigan Lab, 1201 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801
Honey serves as a natural source of antioxidants effective in prevention of oxidative deterioration reactions in foods. Our laboratory has established a correlation between antioxidant capacity of honey and total phenolics. It is also widely established that wine can contribute positive health benefits with respect to prevention of cardiovascular disease (attributed both to polyphenols and alcohol). It was anticipated that mead, a fermented honey beverage, may have similar health benefits and that these antioxidant properties are affected by processing.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of specific heat treatments and overall processing of honey into mead on antioxidant capacity of the final mead.
Soy and buckwheat honey musts were subjected to: 1)gentle heating to 60°C and 2)boiling followed by skimming of the protein-tannin complexes. Sulfites and yeast nutrient were added, followed by inoculation and fermentation for 6 weeks. General wine analysis was conducted. Antioxidant capacity of the meads, and commercial wines, was determined by DPPH assay followed by the more sensitive ORAC assay. Total phenolics and HPLC phenolic profiles were determined.
Fermentation of soy musts resulted in meads ranging from 6-8% alcohol and 15-20% residual sugars while that of buckwheat resulted in meads of 10-11 % alcohol and 2-3 % residual sugars. The antioxidant capacity of buckwheat mead, while not as high as red wine, was 131 % higher than that of soy mead, which was comparable to white wine and commercial mead. Meads produced from boiled must had 25-34% higher antioxidant capacity than those from gently heated must.
Results of this study suggest that mead may contribute similar health benefits as are contributed by wines, due to dietary consumption of antioxidants. Dramatic heat treatments that are often avoided because of their flavor impact in mead production have been demonstrated to enhance antioxidant capacity of mead.
Session 61D, Nutraceuticals & Functional Foods II