Contamination of propolis used as a dietary supplement


  • Adam Roman Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Science, Department of Environment Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51- 630 Wrocław
  • Ewa Popiela-Pleban Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Science, Department of Environment Hygiene and Animal Welfare, Chełmońskiego 38C, 51- 630 Wrocław



propolis, heavy metals, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, zinc, accumulation, dietary supplement


The aim of the study was to determine the extent of chosen toxic elements (zinc, copper, lead, arsenic and cadmium) bioaccumulation in propolis collected in Opole area. The present study demonstrates that propolis can be used as a dietary supplement. The research material were samples of propolis originated from 3 bee colonies in 30 apiaries (n=3x30=90). Quantitative analysis of studied elements were conducted using Varian ICP-AES plasma spectrometer with mass detection controlled, and CETAC-5000 AT ultrasonic nebulizer. The presence of toxic elements was determined in an examined biological materials. The sequence of accumulation level of studied elements in propolis was as follows: Zn>>Cu>Pb>As>Cd. An average concentration of zinc, copper, lead, arsenic and cadmium amounted  to 56.28, 7.12, 6.91, 0.745, 0.218, respectively. Only the copper average content in propolis was within acceptable standards, whereas the mean contents of other elements greatly exceed these standards. All portions of propolis should be subjected to toxicological testing before applying these samples for internal use.


Download data is not yet available.


BANKOVA, V. S, CASTRO S. L, MARCUCCI M. C. 2000. Propolis: recent advances in chemistry and plant origin. In Apidologie, vol. 31, 2000, p. 3-15.

BARIŠIC, D., BROMENSHENK, J. J., KEZIÆ, N., VERTAÈNIK, A. 2002. The role of honey bees in environmental monitoring in Croatia. In Honey Bees: Estimating the Environmental Impact of Chemicals,

p. 160-185.

BAYÇU, G., ÖNAL, M. 1993. An Investigation of the Levels of Cadmium and Lead in the Soil and in the Leaves of Selected Specimens of Ailanthus altissima Found Growing Beside a Freeway in Istanbul. In The Journal of Biology, vol. 56, 1993, p. 21-34.

BOGDANOV, S. 2006. Contaminants of bee products.

In Apidologie, vol. 37, 2006, p. 1-18.

CELLI, G., MACCAGNANI B. 2003. Honey bees as bioindicators of environmental pollution. In Bulletin of Insectology, vol. 56, 2003, p. 137-139.

CHŁOPECKA, A., BACON, J. R., WILSON, M. J., KAY, J. 1996. Forms of cadmium, lead, and zinc in contaminated soils from southwest Poland. In Journal of Environmental Quality, vol. 25, 1996, p. 69-79.

CONTI, M. E., BOTRÈ, F. 2001. Honeybees and their products as potential bioindicators of heavy metals contamination. In Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, vol. 69, 2001, p. 267-282. PMid:11497382

CVEK, J., MEDIĆ-ŠARIĆ, M., WITALI, D., VEDRINA-DRAGOJEVIĆ, I., SMIT, Z., TOMIĆ, S. 2008. The content of essential and toxic elements in Croatian propolis samples and their tinctures. In Journal of ApiculturalResearch, vol. 47, 2008, p. 35-45.

DE CASRTRO, S. L. 2001. Propolis: biological properties and pharmacological activities. Therapeutic uses of this bee-product. In Annual Review Biomedical Sciences, vol. 3, 2001, p. 49-83.

DOGAN, M., SILICI, S., SARAYMEN, R., ILHAN, I. O. 2006. Element content of propolis from different regions of Turkey. In Acta Alimentaria, vol. 35, 2006, p.127-130.

IANNOTTI, O., MINCIGRUCCI, G., BRICCHI, E., FRENGUELLI, G. 2000. Pollen viability as a bio-indicator of air quality. In Aerobiologia., vol. 16, 2000, p. 361-365.

JONES, K. C. 1987. Honey as an indicator of heavy metal contamination. In Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, vol. 33, 1987, p. 179-189.

KABATA-PENDIAS, A., PENDIAS, H. 1999. Biogeochemistry of vestigial elements. PWN, Warszawa, 74-288.

KULEVANOVA, S., STAFILOV, T., DOREVSKI, K. 1995. Determination of some macroelements in propolis by atomic absorption spectrometry. In Acta Pharmaceutica, vol. 45, 1995, p. 45-52.

LEITA, L., MUHLBACHOVA, G., CESCO, S., BARBATTINI, R., MONDINI, C. 1996. Investigation of the use of honey bees and honey bee products to assess heavy metals contamination. In Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, vol. 43, 1996, p. 1-9.

MARCUCCI, M. C. 1995. Propolis: Chemical composition, biological properties and therapeutic activity. In Apidologie, vol. 26, 1995, p. 83-99.

PN-R-78891:1996 Propolis - kit pszczeli. Dz. U. Nr 139. poz. 300, 1998.

RASHED, M. N., EL-HATY, M. T. A., MOHAMED, S. M. 2009. Bee honey as environmental indicator for pollution with heavy metals. In Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, vol. 91, 2009, p. 389-403.

ROMAN, A. 1997. Bees and their products as pollution bioindicator in the copper (LGOM) and lime-cement (Opole) industry areas. In Scientific Exercise Books of Agricultural University in Wroclaw, 323, p. 175-193.

ROMAN, A. 2000. The study comparative contents Cd, Pb and Zn in honey, propolis and wax come from regions of Wałbrzych and Głogów. In Apicultural Scientific Exercise Books, Suplement No 1, p. 76-77.

ROMAN, A. 2009. Concentration of Chosen Trace Elements of Toxic Properties in Bee Pollen Loads. In Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, vol. 18, 2009, no. 2,

p. 265-272.

ROMAN, A. 2010. Level of Copper, Selenium, Lead, and Cadmium in Forager Bees. In Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, vol.19, 2010, no. 3, p. 663-669.

ROŠA, J. 2006. Tannins and microelements in the cells of silver fir tree needles (Abies alba Mill.) and the microelements in bee honey as indicators of the silver fir forests condition in the area of Gorski Kotar. In Sumarski List, vol. 130, 2006, p. 493-509.

STANKOVSKA, E., STAFILOV, T., ŠAJN, R. 2008. Monitoring of trace elements in honey from the Republic of Macedonia by atomic absorption spectrometry. In Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, vol. 142, 2008, no. 1-3, p. 117-126. PMid:17899416




How to Cite

Roman, A. ., & Popiela-Pleban, E. . (2012). Contamination of propolis used as a dietary supplement. Potravinarstvo Slovak Journal of Food Sciences, 6(2), 50–52.