Purification and characterization of proteins in multifloral honey from kelulut bee (stingless bee)

Muhamad Sahlan, Kaysa Faradis Mahira, Ihsan Wiratama, Alfiani Guntari Mahadewi, Masafumi Yohda, Heri Hermansyah, Keiichi Noguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The kelulut bee (Meliponini) is a subfamily of stingless bees that produce honey. A total of 89 species out of a total of 500 species of kelulut bees are known to originate from the Indo-Australian region. Kelulut bees do not have quality standards so they still refer to the Codex and EU Directive which basically only applied for Apis honey. The Codex and EU Directive are formed by several psychochemical parameters, one of it is diastase activity. Diastase activity in kelulut honey is known not to meet existing standards or even undetectable. Therefore, this study aimed to explore proteins inside kelulut honey and investigate the possibility of using a specific protein as a biomarker to differentiate honey produced by kelulut bee from other honey. This research can also be considered as an initial step to optimize the exploration of protein in kelulut honey. This research is divided into two sections which are the preliminary research and the research expansion. From preliminary section, glucose dehydrogenase enzyme (GDH) was found to be present inside Tetragonula spp honey. A further examination of GDH enzyme was made in four kelulut bee honeys namely Tetragonula leaviceps, T. biroi, Heterotrigona itama, and Geniotrigona thoracica. The preliminary research has five stages that are exactly the as expansion research section except it didn't include GDH activity measurement. The research includes seven main stages. First honeys were dialyzed to remove the sugar content followed by centrifugation. The samples were then purified using liquid chromatography with anion exchanger column. The molecular weight of proteins was analysed by SDS-PAGE method. The GDH activity was measured using spectrophotometer followed by qualitative analysis using LC-MS/MS. The peptide sequences resulted from LC-MS/MS were then matched with Uniprot to identify the unknow protein. The results showed that only T. biroi and T. laeviceps had GDH enzyme activity of 0,1891 U/mL and 0,1652–1,579 U/mL, respectively. Bands from both species were also qualitatively identified as GDH. With these results, it can be concluded that the GDH enzyme cannot be used as a biomarker to distinguish the kelulut honey.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02835
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Animal product
  • Biochemical engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Diastase
  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Food science
  • Geniotrigona thoracica
  • Glucose dehydrogenase
  • Heterotrigona itama
  • Kelulut
  • Molecular engineering
  • Protein engineering
  • Proteins
  • Proteomics
  • Tetragonula biroi
  • Tetragonula leaviceps


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