Honeybees collect resins, gums and their buds from plants to make propolis, so the chemical composition of propolis is inseparably related to plant sources. Available data show that in temperate regions around the world, propolis is mainly derived from the resinous secretions of the young buds of Populus alba. Therefore, European propolis mainly contains typical aspenol, and in tropical and subtropical regions, bees must look for other sources of glue source plants to replace the aspen they like to collect. For nearly a decade, Brazilian propolis has generated a great deal of interest from the business community to the scientific community.
1.The characteristics of the Brazilian bee colony
Brazilian beekeepers are now raising Africanized hybrid bees. Although Africanized bee species are ferocious, they have good collection performance and strong resistance to pests and diseases. Picking glue is a heavy manual labor for bees. Africanized hybrid bees are fierce and strong, so they have extraordinary ability to collect propolis. Brazil currently has more than 3 million bee colonies, with an annual output of about 50,000 tons of honey, of which about 20,000 tons are exported. Royal jelly is produced on a small scale in southern Brazil, but has a low share of bee products.
2.How to collect Brazilian propolis
The device for collecting propolis in Brazilian beehives is to relax the glue-picking strips with a gap of about 2.5 cm between the nest box and the successor box, so that the two wooden boxes are elevated to induce the bee colony to collect propolis. Bees have the nature to repair the gaps in the beehive to ensure the normal temperature and humidity in the box and prevent the invasion of foreign enemies. The propolis produced by this method has high yield, less impurities (beeswax content below 5%) and good quality. The weather during the Bee Festival has a great impact on the quality. Even if the Propolis is collected from the Alecrin tree, if it rains heavily during the collection, the color of the propolis will turn black, the fragrance will fade, and the quality will deteriorate.
Due to the abundance of plastic source plants and the strong colony strength of bees, in the propolis production season, each box of bees can collect more than 100 grams of propolis for 15 days. In Brazil, only part of the bee colony invests in the collection of propolis. Usually, the bee colony that collects propolis does not produce honey, and the bee colony that produces honey does not collect propolis. Brazilian propolis has high yield, less impurities and better quality.
3.Classification of Brazilian Propolis
The sources of Brazilian propolis include Araucaria chinensis, Croceum grandiflora, Crocea small and Bacchus, as well as from plants such as Agave and Myrtaceae. Brazilian propolis is not equal to green propolis. Green propolis is only a part of specific glue source plants, such as propolis represented by Bacchus. According to the botanical source and chemical composition, Brazilian propolis can be divided into 12 categories, 5 in the south and 1 in the south. In the Southeast, 6 are in the Northeast. The chemical composition of these different types of propolis was quite different before, and the glue source plant was the direct factor causing this difference.
The chemical composition of propolis is determined by the plant sources collected by bees. In the northern temperate region, poplar-type propolis is represented, which mainly contains phenols, flavonoid aglycones, aromatic acids and their ester compounds. In tropical regions of South America, the chemical composition of propolis varies greatly, represented by Brazilian propolis. With different regions and seasons, new components are often identified. The main components include flavonoids, coumaric acid, wood esters, terpenes. substances, etc.
The representative glue source plant of Brazilian green propolis is Bacchus, which is mainly distributed in Minas state in southeastern Brazil. The tree species itself has been recognized as having strong medicinal effects, especially antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
4.Chemical composition of Brazilian propolis
Since the 1990s, the chemical composition and biological activity of Brazilian propolis have attracted extensive attention of domestic and foreign propolis researchers.
362 compounds have now been isolated and identified from different types of propolis in Brazil. Among them, 130 kinds of flavonoids, 99 kinds of terpenes, 87 kinds of phenolic acid compounds, 25 kinds of volatile oils, 6 kinds of lignins and 15 kinds of other compounds. Six lignan-like compounds were also found in Brazilian propolis. With the deepening of research, a small amount of epoxy quinone, coumarone and other chemical components that have not been clearly classified have also been found in Brazilian propolis. In addition, there are trace amounts of sugars, minerals and vitamins in Brazilian propolis.
5.Pharmacological activity of Brazilian propolis
The main active ingredients of Brazilian propolis (green propolis) are isoprene-p-coumaric acid and its derivatives, while the main active ingredients of Chinese propolis (poplar propolis) are flavonoids.
Brazilian propolis has a variety of physiological and pharmacological activities, but most of the current research is still dominated by phenolic compounds in Brazilian green propolis, while other types of propolis still contain flavonoids, terpenes and other biologically active substances. . Studies have found that Brazilian propolis is rich in phenolic acid compounds and has a wide variety of compounds, which play an important role in its biological activities such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antitumor, and cytotoxicity.