Honey is a valuable functional food rich in phenolic compounds with a broad spectrum of biological activities. Analysis of the phenolic compounds in honey is a very promising tool for the quality control, the authentication and characterization of botanical origin, and the nutraceutical research. This work describes a novel approach for the rapid analysis of five phenolic acids and 10 flavonoids in honey. Phenolic compounds were rapidly extracted and concentrated from diluted honey by dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction (DLLME) and then analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography with UV absorbance detection (HPLC-UV). Some important parameters, such as the nature and volume of extraction and dispersive solvents, pH and salt effect were carefully investigated and optimized to achieve the best extraction efficiency. Under the optimal conditions, an exhaustive extraction for twelve of the investigated analytes (recoveries >70%), with a precision (RSD<10%) highly acceptable for complex matrices, and detection and quantification limits at ppb levels (1.4-12 and 4.7-40ngg(-1), respectively) were attained. The proposed method, compared with the most widely used method in the analysis of phenolic compounds in honey, provided similar or higher extraction efficiency, except in the case of the most hydrophilic phenolic acids. The capability of DLLME to the extraction of other honey phytochemicals, such as abscisic acid, was also demonstrated. The main advantages of developed method are the simplicity of operation, the rapidity to achieve a very high sample throughput and low cost.
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