If you let a drop of honey dissolve in a glass of warm water, what is the solvent and solute for the resulting solution?

1 Answer
Apr 26, 2016

The solute is predominantly fructose and sucrose. The solvent is water.


Honey is, at its simplest level, a mixture of various carbohydrates in water.

Two monosaccharides make up the bulk - fructose accounts for around 38% of honey, whilst glucose makes up about 31%. 9% is made up of disaccharides sucrose, maltose, isomaltose, maltulose, turanose and kojibiose. About 4% is oligosaccharides including erlose, theanderose and panose, formed from incomplete breakdown of the higher saccharides present in nectar and honeydew.

A total of roughly 1% is made up of the following: various enzymes, including invertase (converts sucrose to glucose and fructose); amylase (breaks starch down into smaller units); glucose oxidase (converts glucose to gluconolactone, which in turn yields gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide); catalase (breaks down the peroxide formed by glucose oxidase to water and oxygen), and acid phosphorylase (which removes inorganic phosphate from organic phosphates). There are also eighteen free amino acids, of which the most abundant is proline. Also a number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (trace amounts of the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6 plus L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and minerals calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium and manganese.

This leaves 17% which is water. So there are lots of different solutes, but they are present in tiny quantity, the main ones are fructose and sucrose.