Leptosperin is the first of what could be a number of Manuka specific chemical markers, which are used to identify Manuka honey for authenticity and labelling purposes.
Leptosperin is a naturally occurring chemical, found only in the nectar of Manuka plants (and a few very close relatives). It was first identified (and patented) by Japanese researcher Kato in 2014*, and later that year its presence in Manuka nectar was reported by the UMFHA and Analytica Laboratories at the Apiculture Industry Conference in Whanganui, New Zealand. Leptosperin concentration is stable over time, and therefore measuring its concentration in honey is a good way of identifying whether the honey comes from Manuka nectar, and whether it can be labelled as Manuka, or a Manuka blend, or as a multi-floral honey.
Leptosperin concentrations have the ability to highlight cases of possible adulteration of honey to look like Manuka.
At this stage, UMFHA holds the NZ license for the use of Leptosperin testing in Manuka honey, and ask us to collect a royalty for all tests carried out. UMFHA members pay a $5 + GST per test royalty and non-members pay a $10 + GST per test royalty. Royalties are collected by Analytica for payment in full to the UMFHA.
*Kato Y, Fujinaka R, Ishisaka A, Nitta Y, Kitamoto N, Takimoto Y. Plausible authentication of manuka honey and related products by measuring leptosperin with methyl syringate. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2014, 62 (27), pp 6400–6407
How does Analytica conduct the test
A sub sample of honey is extracted in ultra-pure water, diluted and analysed by Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC).