Phenolic compound, nutritional and antioxidant profile of pollen collected by the genus melipona in North Eastern Brazil

Abstract The pollen collected by eusocial bees is often reported as being healthy food due to its important nutritional and therapeutic properties. However, studies reporting such properties are rare, especially for pollen collected by the genus Melipona in northeastern Brazil, which is the focus of this research. Pollen from seven species of stingless bees was analysed for its nutritional composition (sugar, lipid, protein and amino acids). The phenolic compound profile was described based on fourteen phenolic compounds (apigenin, kaempferol, luteolin, naringin, rutin, gallic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, abscisic acid, protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid and trans-cinnamic acid). The antioxidant property was analysed by quantifying of total phenolic compounds, total flavonoids and DPPH. Chromatographic methods were used to identify and quantify the phenolic compounds and amino acids. The pollen samples from the bees under study showed good concentrations of proteins and amino acids and good antioxidant potential. The phenolic compounds luteolin, trans-cinnamic acid and apigenin were identified and described in pollen for the first time. Of the amino acids analysed, asparigine, glutamic acid, leucine and proline showed the highest concentrations. The research related to the theme showed that this is one of the first studies to identify and quantify the phenolic compounds and amino acids in stingless bee pollen, reflecting its importance in therapeutic use and as a food supplement.