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Apifresh[1] is a European project funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Program.[2] It started on 1 July 2010 and it will last three years. The project is developed by a Consortium set up by partners from different European Countries. It is formed by four Industrial Associations, three SMEs and three research centres.

Apifresh project has come out in several media:

  • La Rioja Government newsletter[3]
  • IST-WORLD[4]
  • Madrimasd[5] (Science and Research News from Spain)
  • Magazize O Apicultor[6]
  • Computers and Electronics in Agriculture[7]
  • Micron[8]
Rubus flower

The partners[edit]

The coordinator is the research centre Tecnologías Avanzadas Inspiralia. The Industrial Associations are: European Professional Beekeepers Association; Orszagos Magyar Meheszeti Egyesulet; Federecao Nacional dos Apicultores de Portugal and Centro Tecnológico Nacional de la Conserva y Alimentación. The three SMEs are: Campomiel from Spain; Balparmak from Turkey and Parco Tecnologico Padano from Italy. The research centres are Tecnologías Avanzadas Inspiralia (coordinator); Centro Agrícola Regional de Marchamalo, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and TÜBITAK MAM, Gida Enstitüsü.


The objective of the Apifresh project is to provide European beekeepers with the scientific and technological aids necessary to improve the quality of European pollen and royal jelly and also to promote the regulatory means that will allow European bee products compete under fair conditions against lower quality or adulterated products.

Pollen samples

These core objectives will be realised by means of the following achievements:

  1. The development of a quality standard aimed at protecting European pollen and royal jelly products against adulteration and contamination induced by environmental and bee-treatment toxic components[9][10]
  2. The development of the knowledge and technological aids necessary to enforce compliance with the proposed standard, including:
    • Definition of the analytical methods necessary to determine sensory properties, bacterial load, water content, chemical composition, and presence of pesticides and heavy metals.[11][unreliable source?][12][13][14]
    • Determination of bee-product authenticity and unambiguous origin identification[15][16] by means of PCR techniques
    • Determination of the health enhancing compounds present in bee products.[17][unreliable source?][18]
    • Development of a set of best practice guidelines for beekeep[citation needed]
    • Development of a low-cost computer vision based decision support system for the identification of pollen vegetal species, relative proportions and geographical origin.[19][20][21]
Kinds of pollen

The development of best practice guidelines aimed at improving the quality of pollen and royal jelly products in all phases of the production chain: harvesting, collecting, storage, transportation and presentation at the point of sale.


The competitiveness of the European beekeeping sector is progressively falling as a consequence of decreased bee populations and abrupt snatching of market share by imports.[22] These facts cause reduction of beekeepers’ production, implying underutilised resources, lower economies of scale, and higher production costs.[23] In addition, products manufactured in countries with much lower quality standards and/or adulterated with substitutes are gaining market share through unfair competition.

Lack of specific regulations with respect to bee products are another threat for the beekeeping market and public health safety. Currently, there are no accepted standards for certain products like pollen and royal jelly. Few countries have guidelines or standards for products other than honey. This means it is possible to find products in the market under these labels without any quality and authenticity control.

Project status[edit]

Apifresh is in the second year of development. Currently the project has collected more than 400 pollen and 20 royal jelly samples from ten European countries. These samples have been analyzed in the two laboratories participating in the project: Marchamalo (Spain) and Tubitak (Turkey) with a third reference laboratory in Germany. A set of guidelines have been produced for the beekeepers to ensure samples are collected according to a given protocol; ensuring the quality of harvesting, transportation and storage conditions. Also strict interlaboratory validation protocols have been defined; including: a validation protocol, a validation master plan and standard format for inter-laboratory reports.[citation needed]

A complete set of analytics has been specified in the protocol; including the following:[citation needed]

These analyses have been performed already in the set of available samples and the results from the 2011 sample collection campaign area available. Validation for the chemical analysis has been performed following Eurochem /Citac Guide GC 4 (QUAM:2000.1, second edition) while validation studies for microbiological analysis has been done based on ISO 19036.

In addition the first computer vision software module has been completed and is already available. The module is able to separate pollen samples by its color, categorize them according to an internal dictionary of pollen species and count the relative proportions of the different pollen types in the sample. All this is done automatically in a few seconds, using a low cost video camera and PC computer. No expertise in computer vision or Melissopalynology is required. Before, this same process required at least two hours work by a skilled operator separating pollen grains by hand. As reported in scientific publications,[24] the software achieves 94% accuracy in the identification of the pollen proportions; much higher than what is reasonably possible with a human operator.[25]


  1. ^ "CORDIS - EU Research Projects : Apifresh". Cordi.europa.eu. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  2. ^ "European Commission : CORDIS : Homepage". Cordis.europa.eu. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  3. ^ "Experiencias sostenibles - Gobierno de La Rioja". Larioja.org. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  4. ^ "Apifresh - Developing European standards for bee pollen and royal jelly: quality, safety and authenticity". Ist-world.org. 2010-01-07. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  5. ^ "Mejorar la competitividad de las empresas apícolas europeas". Madrimasd.org. 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  6. ^ "Revista trimestral sobre apicultura". O Apicultor. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  7. ^ Marcos, Victor; Cristobal, Rafael; Rodriguez, Tomas; Bueno, Gloria; Redondo, Rafael; Gonzalez, Amelia; Pardo, Cristina; Nava, Rodrigo; Boris, Escalante; Deniz, Oscar; Chung, François (2015). "Pollen Segmentation and Feature Evaluation for Automatic Classification in Bright-field Microscopy". Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 110: 56. Bibcode:2015CEAgr.110...56R. doi:10.1016/j.compag.2014.09.020. hdl:10261/134828.
  8. ^ Marcos, Victor; Cristobal, Rafael; Rodriguez, Tomas; Bueno, Gloria; Redondo, Rafael; Gonzalez, Amelia; Pardo, Cristina; Nava, Rodrigo; Boris, Escalante; Deniz, Oscar; Chung, François (2015). "Automated pollen identification using microscopic imaging and texture analysis" (PDF). Micron. 68: 36–46. doi:10.1016/j.micron.2014.09.002. hdl:10261/102259. PMID 25259684. S2CID 4520313.
  9. ^ Sabatini, Anna Gloria; Marcazzan, Gian Luigi; Caboni, Maria Fiorenza; Bogdanov, Stefan; Bicudo de Almeida-Muradian, Ligia (2009). "Quality and standardisation of Royal Jelly" (PDF). Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science. 1 (1): 1–6. doi:10.3896/IBRA. S2CID 2304042.
  10. ^ Campos, Maria G. R.; Bogdanov, Stefan; Bicudo de Almeida-Muradian, Ligia; Szczesna, Teresa; Mancebo, Yanina; Frigerio, Christian; Ferreira, Francisco (2008). "Pollen composition and standardisation of analytical methods" (PDF). Journal of Apicultural Research and Bee World. 47 (2): 156–63. doi:10.1080/00218839.2008.11101443. S2CID 43217309.
  11. ^ Bengsch, Eberhard (2011). "Royal jelly: new techniques for determining its quality and improving its effectiveness" (PDF). Journal of the American Apitherapy Society. 18 (2): 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-06.
  12. ^ Zhou, Ling-Juan; Pei, Ke-Quan; Zhou, Bo; Ma, Ke-Ping (2007). "A molecular approach to species identification of Chenopodiaceae pollen grains in surface soil". American Journal of Botany. 94 (3): 477–81. doi:10.3732/ajb.94.3.477. PMID 21636418.
  13. ^ Almeida-Muradian, L.B.; Pamplona, Lucila C.; Coimbra, Sı́Lvia; Barth, Ortrud Monika (2005). "Chemical composition and botanical evaluation of dried bee pollen pellets". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 18: 105. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2003.10.008.
  14. ^ Pereira de Melo, Illana Louise; Muradian, Ligia Bicudo de Almeida (2010). "Stability of antioxidants vitamins in bee pollen samples". Química Nova. 33 (3): 514–8. doi:10.1590/S0100-40422010000300004.
  15. ^ Allen, Gary (2006). An automated pollen recognition system (Master's thesis). Institute of information Sciences and Technology, Massey University. hdl:10179/613.[page needed]
  16. ^ Rodriguez-Damian, M.; Cernadas, E.; Formella, A.; Fernandez-Delgado, M.; Pilar De Sa-Otero (2006). "Automatic detection and classification of grains of pollen based on shape and texture". IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics - Part C: Applications and Reviews. 36 (4): 531–42. doi:10.1109/TSMCC.2005.855426. S2CID 9397158.
  17. ^ Bogdanov, Stefan (January 15, 2012). "Royal Jelly, Bee Brood: Composition, Health, Medicine: A Review" (PDF).
  18. ^ Ramadan, Mohamed Fawzy; Al-Ghamdi, Ahmed (2012). "Bioactive compounds and health-promoting properties of royal jelly: A review". Journal of Functional Foods. 4: 39–52. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2011.12.007.
  19. ^ Ranzato, M.; Taylor, P.E.; House, J.M.; Flagan, R.C.; Lecun, Y.; Perona, P. (2007). "Automatic recognition of biological particles in microscopic images". Pattern Recognition Letters. 28 (1): 31–9. Bibcode:2007PaReL..28...31R. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.patrec.2006.06.010.
  20. ^ Orlov, Nikita; Shamir, Lior; MacUra, Tomasz; Johnston, Josiah; Eckley, D. Mark; Goldberg, Ilya G. (2008). "WND-CHARM: Multi-purpose image classification using compound image transforms". Pattern Recognition Letters. 29 (11): 1684–1693. Bibcode:2008PaReL..29.1684O. doi:10.1016/j.patrec.2008.04.013. PMC 2573471. PMID 18958301.
  21. ^ Gurevich, I. B.; Koryabkina, I. V. (2006). "Comparative analysis and classification of features for image models". Pattern Recognition and Image Analysis. 16 (3): 265–97. doi:10.1134/S1054661806030023. S2CID 12236597.
  22. ^ "Bee Mortality and Bee Surveillance in Europe". The EFSA Journal. 154 (8): 1–28. 2008. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2008.154r.
  23. ^ Bee health in Europe: Facts and Figures, OPERA Research Center, http://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/OPERAReport.pdf
  24. ^ Chica, Manuel; Campoy, Pascual (2012). "Discernment of bee pollen loads using computer vision and one-class classification techniques". Journal of Food Engineering. 112 (1–2): 50. doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2012.03.028.
  25. ^ Chica, Manuel (2012). "Authentication of bee pollen grains in bright-field microscopy by combining one-class classification techniques and image processing". Microscopy Research and Technique. 75 (11): 1475–85. doi:10.1002/jemt.22091. PMID 22736501. S2CID 36517547.