In this study, we investigated and compared some chemical properties and in vitro biological activities of three different types of Turkish honey. The first two honey samples were monofloral from chestnut and rhododendron flowers, collected from the east Black Sea region, and the third sample was the heterofloral form of astragalus (Astragalus microcephalus Willd.), thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and other several mountain flowers, collected from Erzincan in Eastern Anatolia. The chemical properties of the honey samples, such as total moisture, ash, total protein, sucrose, invert sugar, diastase activity, hydroxymethylfurfural content and acidity, were determined. Total phenolics, superoxide radical- and peroxynitrite-scavenging activities, and ferric reducing/antioxidant power measurements were used as antioxidant capacity determinants with +/--catechin, butylated hydroxytoluene, ascorbic acid, and trolox (R) used as reference. The antimicrobial activity was studied by the agar diffusion method, using eight bacteria and two yeasts. The mineral contents were also determined by an AAS method. The chestnut flower honey had the highest phenolic content, superoxide radical- scavenging activity and reducing power, while the heterofloral honey sample exhibited the highest peroxynitrite-scavenging activity. The antioxidant activities were also found to be related to the sample concentrations. The mineral content of the chestnut honey was much higher than the others. The samples showed moderate antimicrobial activity against some microorganisms, especially Helicobacter pylori ATCC 49503, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923, Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633, Candida tropicalis ATCC 13803 and Candida albicans ATCC 10231. The honey samples studied proved to be a good source of antioxidants and antimicrobial agents that might serve to protect health and fight against several diseases. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.