Date Presented

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Priscilla Gannicott

Second Advisor

Dr. Samrat Thapa

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Ledbetter


Honey often serves as a bioindicator, representative of the environmental pollution in an area, due to honey bees’ role in the ecosystem and the bioaccumulation of potentially toxic elements (PTEs). This study quantified the concentration of various PTEs found in 22 honey samples collected in Central Virginia. Samples were digested using acid-assisted microwave digestion and analyzed using microwave plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (MP-AES). The concentration of cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) were quantified. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) determined there was no statistically significant difference between the concentrations of PTEs found in local, raw honeys versus the 3 commercially purchased honeys. This study provides a benchmark of PTE concentrations in local honeys for further research by providing more information for the selected region that was not previously reported on. The study ultimately determined there was no health hazard to consuming local honeys produced in Central Virginia compared to store-bought honeys.


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