Sometimes being a professor at a distinguished university isn’t enough. There are other jobs to be had and a professor of anthropology at Texas A&M has other expertise to share. Vaughn Bryant is also a melissopalynologist; big word that. He’s a scientist who studies bee pollen.
Even in the most common of grocery stores you will find a range of honeys, clover and orange blossom being the most common. Honey takes on different characteristics depending on the plants that the particular hive pollinated. The people who wholesale the honey and the companies that sell it aren’t always so careful about accurately identifying the source.
This is when Bryant uses his skills of detection.
[He] dilutes, centrifuges, and stains hundreds of samples each year, scanning them for identifiable grains of pollen. Because flowering plants vary from region to region and bees rarely stray far from the hive, the pollen print provides a sort of geocode. “When I start finding stuff native to the northwest in Florida honey, I know something’s wrong.”
He works for a number of companies who want to know where there product is coming from and he’s the man to give them the answer. Those bee hives at the White House – Bryant proved that the pollen did in fact originate in flowers native to the D.C. area.
- via Wired Science