5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) levels in honey and other food products: effects on bees and human health

Ummay Mahfuza Shapla, Md Solayman, Nadia Alam, Md Ibrahim Khalil, Siew Hua Gan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

317 Citations (Scopus)


An organic compound known as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is formed from reducing sugars in honey and various processed foods in acidic environments when they are heated through the Maillard reaction. In addition to processing, storage conditions affect the formation HMF, and HMF has become a suitable indicator of honey quality. HMF is easily absorbed from food through the gastrointestinal tract and, upon being metabolized into different derivatives, is excreted via urine. In addition to exerting detrimental effects (mutagenic, genotoxic, organotoxic and enzyme inhibitory), HMF, which is converted to a non-excretable, genotoxic compound called 5-sulfoxymethylfurfural, is beneficial to human health by providing antioxidative, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypoxic, anti-sickling, and anti-hyperuricemic effects. Therefore, HMF is a neo-forming contaminant that draws great attention from scientists. This review compiles updated information regarding HMF formation, detection procedures, mitigation strategies and effects of HMF on honey bees and human health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Number of pages18
JournalChemistry Central Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural
  • Anti-allergen
  • Antioxidant
  • Carcinogen
  • Mutagen

Cite this