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How Can You Tell if Your Honey has been Diluted with Sugar Syrup?
As a worker at Honey Testing Ltd., you are approached by the angry managers of two honey-making companies, Holly's Healthy Honey and Sam's Sticky Sweets. Both companies have been accused of diluting their honey with cheap sugar syrup to cut costs. They have come to you to find out if their employees really have been adulterating their honey, or if such accusations are unwarranted.
A bee on a flower Honey is produced from nectar collected by bees. Each carbon atom in honey, as a result, could come from one of two natural sources: it could be found in the honey's sugars (produced through photosynthesis in nectar-producing plants), or it could be found in the honey's proteins (produced by bees in the form of enzymes to enhance the ripening of nectar).
Before beginning to test the suspicious honey samples from these two companies, you need to know how isotope ratios can be used to distinguish between pure and diluted honey. The ratio of stable carbon isotopes (13C and 12C) is usually used for this purpose. In a pure sample of honey, would you expect the 13C/12C ratio of honey sugars and the 13C/12C ratio of honey proteins to be the same?
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