What is UMF, MGO, DHA, HMF?

What is UMF, MGO, DHA, HMF?

Mānuka honey is graded not only based off its MGO (Methylglyoxal) content but also its relationship to non-peroxide activity (NPA). The result of this is then measured by UMF. UMF or “Unique Mānuka Factor” is a registered trademark specifically used to grade New Zealand harvested Mānuka Honey. To have a UMF certification on the packaging of a honey product the whole entire production process of the honey from cultivating, to testing, to packaging needs to be completed in New Zealand. UMF also encompasses specific levels of MGO, Leptosperin, DHA and HMF for potency, authenticity, shelf life and freshness to be able to be certified*.

So why doesn’t NUBU measure the Hemp Extract CBD Infused Mānuka Honey in UMF?

Although our honey is 100% sourced from New Zealand and purchased with a UMF certification (see COAs here), we do have to process our patent pending formulation outside of New Zealand due to the stringent restrictions surrounding CBD (cannabidiol), because of this we cannot use the registered UMF trademark. This however does not mean the quality has been diminished, if anything our unique formulation improves the stability of the MGO and CBD content.

For reference, baseline translations of MGO to UMF are below: 











Another very interesting active in Mānuka Honey is DHA (dihydroxyacetone). A 2009 study by the University of Waikato shows the overall potential of MGO is based off the honey’s DHA concentration. When testing nectar from the Mānuka flower, there were no trace levels of MGO but high levels of DHA. This DHA decreases and converts to MGO over time through the addition of heat, 37C to be exact**. This means there is a finite amount of MGO that a Mānuka Honey can generate, with our patent pending formulation however we have noticed the MGO stays stable for longer.

The biproduct of heating Mānuka honey to 37C is a compound called HMF. HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural) can indicate that a honey has been temperature abused as the DHA to MGO conversion has been heat-forced to hit higher, more expensive MGO levels. The current limits to ensure Mānuka honey has not gone through this process is a testing level of less than 40mg/kg***.

In summary, MGO is the active compound in Mānuka Honey that is converted from DHA as the honey bees collect nectar from the Mānuka flower (Leptospermum scoparium). DHA levels determine the maximum amount of MGO a batch of Mānuka Honey could create over time. As DHA levels decrease, MGO increases – but this will plateau. HMF is an indicator of freshness or if a Mānuka Honey product has been temperature abused. Specific levels of all three of these compounds are what contributes to the New Zealand based certification, UMF.

Testing results of all of our batches of NUBU Mānuka Honey can be found here.