Standard methods for Apis mellifera propolis research
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Propolis is one of the most fascinating honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) products. It is a plant derived product that bees produce from resins that they collect from different plant organs and with which they mix beeswax. Propolis is a building material and a protective agent in the bee hive. It also plays an important role in honey bee social immunity, and is widely used by humans as an ingredient of nutraceuticals, over-the-counter preparations and cosmetics. Its chemical composition varies by geographic location, climatic zone and local flora. The understanding of the chemical diversity of propolis is very important in propolis research. In this manuscript, we give an overview of the available methods for studying propolis in different aspects: propolis in the bee colony; chemical composition and plant sources of propolis; biological activity of propolis with respect to bees and humans; and approaches for standardization and quality control for the purposes of industrial application.