Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Had your morning coffee? Thank a killer bee

13.06.2002


Smithsonian scientist shows pollination by exotic honeybees increases coffee crop yields by more than 50 percent



Debunking the widely held belief that the self-pollinating shrub that produces the popular Arabica coffee bean has no use for insects, David W. Roubik of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama has demonstrated that pollination – particularly by naturalized, non-native African honeybees – dramatically boosts the yield from shade-grown coffee plants.

The results of Roubik’s research in Panama over the past five years, with comparisons to data from 15 countries in the New World and 15 in the Old World, are reported in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature. They emphasize the importance of shade-grown coffee – not only to improve the flavor of the beverage, but also to maintain the habitat for naturalized honeybees and other pollinators.


African honeybees took up residence in western Panama in 1985, according to Roubik; shortly thereafter, they were the major pollinators of coffee growing near forests at 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level. To test the idea suggested by his first work in 1997 – that maximum yield occurs at young coffee shrubs near forest – Roubik studied 50, two-year-old plants in Panama in 2001, keeping the pollinators away from a control branch on each plant by bagging them with fine mesh. In both studies, he found the flowers visited by pollinators produced significantly heavier, more abundant fruit. Conversely, in several countries where the areas of high-density coffee cultivation have increased two- to five-fold in the last 41 years, coffee yield has decreased by 20- to 50 percent. Roubik concluded that he loss of pollinators clearly is implicated in this decline, which strongly suggests that sustained, aggressive cultivation is detrimental, since it removes their natural habitat.

“You probably don’t realize that part of your daily routine involves bees,” said Roubik, adding, “I say this because, from what I see going on in the Neotropics, the work of two or three dozen wild African honey bees is in every cup of coffee that you drink"

Elizabeth Tait | EurekAlert

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single nanoparticle mapping paves the way for better nanotechnology

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A quantum spin liquid

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Antibiotic resistance: a strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli is on the rise

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>