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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2174/453

Title: Investigations on the physical and chemical properties of beeswax
Authors: Bisson, Charles S.
Vansell, George H.
Dye, Walter B.
Issue Date: 1940
Citation: Bisson C.S., Vansell G.H., Dye W.B., 1940. Investigations on the physical and chemical properties of beeswax. Technical bulletin (United States. Dept. of Agriculture), n°716, 24p.
Series/Report no.: Bures-B0299
Abstract: The physical and chemical properties have been determined on 60 samples of crude beeswax, obtained for the most part from beekeepers in California and other Western States, and these properties have been compared with those of freshly secreted scale wax and also with the properties of many of the same crude waxes after they had been decolorized by various processes. For freshly secreted beeswax the properties are nearly constant, but with changes in the quantity and kind of contaminating impurities some or all of these properties change. The physical and chemical properties of the impurities, and not of the waxes as a whole, must therefore be used as the basis for classifying crude beeswaxes. The impurities in crude beeswax consist of honey, suspended particles, or dissolved substances, and may or may not be colored. The soluble colored materials are attributable to substances extracted from pollens, to propolis, and to substances produced by contact of the wax with metals. Darkening of crude wax by contact with iron or oxides of iron is very common. The crude waxes that were highly contaminated with propolis showed higher densities, indices of refraction, acid numbers, and iodine numbers than those containing little propolis but appreciable quantities of other soluble contaminants. Samples high in propolis could not be decolorized by sun bleaching or adsorption, and they were decolorized chemically only with difficulty. When melted crude waxes were treated with certain dilute acids, brown waxes became yellow, but the yellow color was not removed. In tests of the complete removal or destruction of colored impurities by action of sunlight, adsorbent solids, and chemicals, the individual waxes differed greatly depending on the nature of the colored impurity. This fact indicates the necessity for establishing the chemical structure of these colored constituents and also their specific physical and chemical properties. The effect of the method of decolorization on the composition of the wax is reflected to the greatest extent in the differences between the chemical properties of crude waxes and the corresponding refined waxes. The ash content was lowest in the waxes refined by sun bleaching. This process, however, was not so widely applicable to all waxes as the chemical method, which in every case produced a nearly white product with a relatively high ash content. Wax bloom has been shown to be a mixture of organic compounds of low final melting point and narrow melting range. Preliminary experiments on the absorption spectra of extracts of crude beeswaxes and of a pollen suggest the possibility of determining that the same colored substances may be common to some crude beeswaxes and pollens.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2174/453
Appears in Collections:l'Abeille Digitale - Bee Archive / Prototype

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