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Development of a new premium beverage: sparkling wine from Brazilian native bees honey

Abstract

Brazil is one of the largest honey producers in the world and the eighth largest exporter. The main bee species beekept in the country is the exotic Apis mellifera (the Western honey bee), with high productivity and well regulated management in the country. On the other hand, there are more than 1,500 native bee species known in Brazil, and more than 200 are stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponina). The rational breeding of sintgless bees, called meliponiculture, has increased in Brazil during the past 10 years, involving innovative techniques and practices and use of its products. The possibilities of using native bee products are numerous, including not only the honey itself, but also wax, propolis and pollen, as well as its application in landscaping, leisure, tourism, environmental education and scientific studies. The stingless bee honeys present a wide variation of flavor, color and aroma, which make them a rich raw material for the development of new products, although extensive scientific research is still necessary for proper understanding of their chemical and microbiological features. One of the most promising usages is the alcoholic fermentation of stingless bees honey, making an attractive result similar to a dry wine. The beverage sector in Brazil has grown above Gross Domestic Product in recent years, which stimulates the search for new products. The main growth trends in the sector involve premium products made from natural raw material, as is evidenced by the great success of artisanal breweries that have grown substantially in recent years. In Brazil, there are few registered establishments producing fermented beverages from honey and, to date, none could be found using Brazilian stingless bees honey. The great diversity of native bees in Brazil presents a daring opportunity to combine scientific research with the creation of a totally innovative product with no similar contender available in the national market. In this scenario, there are appealing conditions for the goal of this proposal: the development of an innovative product, a premium honey sparkling produced from stingless bee honey, which indirectly values and stimulates the preservation of the Brazilian fauna. The result of this project is going to offer a unique product to the market, developed with social and environmental responsibility, and valuing the Brazilian culture and biodiversity. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about research grant:
Startup develops sparkling beverage from honey produced by Brazilian native bees 
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
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