Bee bread is a natural product. It consists of pollen collected by bees, placed in the cells of the honeycomb and intended for the protein food reserves of the bee family.
Pollen turns into bee bread after natural preservation. Tytuvėnai beekeeper Eugenijus Pelenis says that pollen and bee bread are like fresh and pickled cucumbers. We value pickled ones more than fresh ones. Bee bread is also more valuable.
Dr. A. Amšiejus claims that the transformation of pollen into bee bread begins with their placement in the honeycomb. Pollen compressed in the honeycombs is affected by biochemical fermentation processes. The transformation of pollen into bee bread goes through three stages.
Bee bread is brown balls with a sweet, sour or bitter taste. The main part of bee bread consists of pollen from entomophilous plants, which are from 13 to 46 million in one gram of bread. This is determined by the type of pollen collected. The pollen mixture is subjected to fermentation processes, with increased humidity and a temperature of 35-36 degrees C, and becomes bee bread in about two weeks. It is the main source of proteins, fats, trace elements and vitamins for bees.
The bread is fed to the bee brood, which needs a lot of protein to grow. If there is a lack of bee bread in the hive, the normal vital activity of the bee family is disturbed. Only fed on bread, bees can produce enough wax and royal jelly. According to scientists’ calculations, a bee colony consumes 30-40 kg of this product per year. During the formation of bee bread, some of the complex carbohydrates are broken down to monosaccharides, some of which turn into lactic acid. The concentration of lactic acid reaches up to 3.5 percent. High acidity prevents the development of various molds, microorganisms, and rotting bacteria. The properties of the product preserved in this way change little over time, and the bread itself can be used for a long time. This explains how bee bread differs from pollen collected by bees.
However, bee bread surpasses pollen in its properties. First of all, bee bread is much more easily absorbed by the human body. This is because as the breadfruit ripens, the covering of the pollen that makes it up breaks down and the substances inside are released, which can be absorbed by the body more quickly. In contrast, an intact pollen coat makes it difficult not only to absorb the pollen content, but can irritate the lining of the digestive tract.
During the fermentation processes, some of the proteins in the bread are broken down into simpler compounds: peptides and free amino acids, while some of the complex carbohydrates are broken down into monosaccharides, some of which turn into lactic acid. As more lactic acid is formed in bee bread, its acidity also increases. According to research data of scientists, it has been established that the composition of pollen and bee bread is not the same in terms of trace elements.