Characterised by the sudden mass exodus of bees from their hives, CCD was first reported in America in November 2006, and has rapidly spread to over 20 American States. Some CCD cases have also been reported in Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain. CCD is increasingly becoming a crisis, causing beekeepers losses of between 30 – 90% and posing a potential threat in European agriculture, where honeybees are of great economic importance.
A study by scientists from the Nairobi-headquartered icipe – African Insect Science for Food and Health, conducted jointly with colleagues from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), suggests that there could be a link between microganisms from invasive species, such as the small hive beetle, recently introduced into the US from Africa. In their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS, 4th May 2007), the researchers observe that, though of no consequence to African honeybees, the small hive beetle decimates European honeybee colonies with impunity through a fungus that it carries.
“Beetles are scavengers and their job is to clean up. In the case of the small hive beetle, it uses a fungus to digest left-over pollen, from which it gets its nutrients. This fungus causes fermentation, in effect causing a change in the chemistry in the hives. Since bees are very sensitive to such variations, they eventually abandon the hives,” explains icipe scientist, Dr Baldwyn Torto.
He adds that African honeybees are generally highly hygienic; they don’t allow debris to accumulate in their hives, so there is little for the small hive beetles to scavenge and to support growth and establishment of other microorganisms. In addition, because of having to constantly deal with a wide diversity of tropical microorganisms while foraging, the African honeybees have evolved ways to fight diseases more effectively, and respond more quickly to any new challenges. On the other hand, says Dr Torto, European honeybees unlike their African cousins are unable to effectively inhibit infestations by this beetle.
“Knowing what allows African honeybees to survive attacks under the tough tropical conditions, and introducing these components into European honeybees, might be a step towards resolving the CCD,” says Dr Torto.
Liz Nganga | alfa
Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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