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Chemistry
Completed Project

Characterization and Antioxidant Analysis of Honey Bee Propolis

Melanie Susman ’21 and Professor Chris Smart (Chemistry)

Propolis, a resinous substance produced by honey bees from various plant resins and other botanic substances, is used by bees as a structural and disinfectant component of the hives. Its antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties make it a subject of interest for its potential applications in human medicine and health. For this project, the chemical components of propolis collected from a local beehive were determined by a variety of methods, including sublimation, GC-MS, HPLC, and NMR. Numerous compounds were isolated and identified within the propolis samples, including several known antioxidants, with composition variation between samples. Antioxidant assays such as DPPH radical scavenging were used to determine the antioxidant potential of the propolis. The propolis was found to have notable radical scavenging activity, several times more effective than the reference antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).