12.05.2020 change 12.05.2020

Beeswax Machine to Expose Beeswax Counterfeiters

Photo: press materials Photo: press materials

A device for preventing the counterfeiting of beeswax has been invented by scientists in Lublin.

By analysing the beeswax, the invention can not only distinguish between natural wax and modified or contaminated wax, but will also assess the usefulness of wax in the beekeeping economy, improve the condition of bee families and reduce losses in honey production.

The analysis is carried out by a portable electro-mechanical device which penetrates the sample and collects information about its physical and chemical properties.

According to the researchers from Lublin’s Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer, beeswax counterfeiting is common. There are no procedures requiring routine quality control of wax as a marketed raw material.

The scientists said: “The problem of counterfeiting is also important because next to honey, beeswax is one of the most important bee products used not only in beekeeping, but also in many industries, including dyeing, weapons manufacturing, metallurgy, pharmaceutical or cosmetics.” 

Current methods for assessing the quality of beeswax rely on organoleptic assessment or analysis. Costly methods used for testing require samples to be delivered to laboratories, where the measuring equipment is located.

To determine the quality of beeswax, the GC-MS test is performed, showing the total amount of saturated hydrocarbons in the sample, which is then compared to a standard specific for natural waxes.

Analysis of one sample costs about PLN 300, which is equivalent to the purchase price of about 10 kg of beeswax. The test is rarely performed and, according to scientists, inaccessible for small wax producers.

The Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer is currently conducting activities related to commercialisation of their invention and searching for potential buyers.

The device has been described in three international patent applications by Professor Mariusz Gagoś from the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Dr. Marek Pietrow and Dr. Jan Wawryszczuk from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University.

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