Elizabeth Nickless

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Influential Factors in Nectar Composition and Yield in Leptospermum scoparium

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Leptospermum scoparium (mānuka) is the plant nectar source for medically bioactive honey, commercially marketed in New Zealand as UMF honey. Ms Nickless demonstrated that genetic and environmental factors influenced nectar composition and yield in L. scoparium. Her research highlighted the importance of assessing not just nectar composition in deducing cultivar value, but overall nectar yield. She found key genetic and environmental features must be explored when assessing L. scoparium plants within breeding programs, prior to selection for large-scale field production of high UMF mānuka honey. Nectar composition was analysed using high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and compared with quantitative analytical spectroscopy methods. Fourier transform Raman spectroscopy and attenuated total reflectance fourier transform infrared spectroscopy were successful techniques in chemotyping different mānuka cultivars. These practical analytical methods proved valuable in quantification of nectar carbohydrate concentrations and for predicting UMF potential using leaf material from L. scoparium plants

Professor Jason Wargent
Dr Jonathan Stephens
Dr Steven Holroyd
Professor Chris Anderson