Nectar by the Greek mythology is the drink of the Gods. It is sweeter than honey, which together with the ambrosia is keeping eternal youth to the Gods. Nectar is liquid consisting of sucrose, fructose and glucose which is secreting by the herb’s glands so called Nectarios. It depends on type of plants and the climatic conditions how many individual sugars will be found in nectar. The pH value of nectar is in the range from 2.7 to 6.4, and the amount of sugar of the lower limit of 3% to 80%. Usually bees prefer to collect the nectar that consists of more types of sugars than only the one sugar. Nectar, which contains less than 5% of sugar bees won’t collect, honeybees prefer nectar which has about 50% sugar.
Nectar except the above mentioned sugar consists of a nitrogen compounds, vitamins and organically acids, mineral salts, enzymes. Best outside temperature for nectar secretion is 10-30 ˚ C and humidity of 60-80%. Most plants secrete nectar in their pollination period. In the summer’s extremely hot days and temperatures above 38 ˚ C the heat can stop of nectar secretion. Nectar is a some kind of gift too bees from the grateful plants for their role in pollination. It is estimated that around 3kg of nectar is necessary for 1kg of honey. Optimal is that bees collect nectar within a radius of up to 1.5 km.
SUGARS AND NECTAR
Simple sugars (monosaccharides)
Monosaccharides consist of a single molecule or unit (mono = one). Most famous are glucose, fructose and galactose. Fructose also called fruit sugar and is most present in fruit and vegetables. The most famous sugar is glucose also known as grape sugar, because it was first discovered in grape.
Double sugars (disaccharides)
Double sugars consist of two units (di = two). The most important are sucrose, maltose and lactose. Sucrose consists of one glucose molecule and of one fructose molecule. Sugar from sugar cane, as well as sugar beet consists of sucrose. Maltose is also called malt. It consists of two glucose molecules. Lactose is also called milk sugar. This is a disaccharide consisting of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of galactose. Lactose is found in milk and dairy products.
Multiple sugars (polysaccharides)
Polysaccharides are composed of a large number of single sugars (glucose units). Poly means “more.” Two types of multiple sugars are very important: starch and glycogen. Starch forms the food reserves in the herbs. Foods rich in starch are grains (bread, pasta, cereal, flour, etc.), potatoes, vegetables and legumes. Glycogen is reserves of the food in humans or animals. As the starch is also composed of hundreds of glucose molecules, but otherwise related. Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles and can rid to the body when there is an immediate need for energy (glucose).