Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bee disease reduced by nature's 'medicine cabinet,' Dartmouth-led study finds

18.02.2015

Nicotine isn't healthy for people, but such naturally occurring chemicals found in flowers of tobacco and other plants could be just the right prescription for ailing bees, according to a Dartmouth College-led study.

The researchers found that chemicals in floral nectar, including the alkaloids anabasine and nicotine, the iridoid glycoside catalpol and the terpenoid thymol, significantly reduce parasite infection in bees.


A bumble bee collecting nectar containing iridoid glycoside secondary metabolites from a turtlehead flower.

Credit: Leif Richardson

The results suggest that growing plants high in these compounds around farm fields could create a natural "medicine cabinet" that improves survival of diseased bees and pollination of crops.

The researchers studied parasite infections in bumble bees, which like honey bees are important pollinators that are in decline around the world, a trend that threatens fruits, vegetables and other crops that make up much of the food supply for people.

The findings appear in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. A PDF of the study and photos of bees are available on request. The study included researchers from Dartmouth and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Plants produce chemicals called secondary metabolites to defend leaves against herbivores. These chemicals are also found in nectar for pollinators, but little is known about the impacts of nectar chemistry on pollinators, including bees.

The researchers hypothesized that some nectar compounds could reduce parasite infections in bees, so they inoculated individual bumble bees with an intestinal parasite and tested effects of eight naturally occurring nectar chemicals on parasite population growth.

The results showed that consumption of these chemicals lessened the intensity of infection by up to 81 percent, which could significantly reduce the spread of parasites within and between bee colonies.

"Our novel results highlight that secondary metabolites in floral nectar may play a vital role in reducing bee-parasite interactions," says senior author Dartmouth Professor Rebecca Irwin.

###

Available to comment are:

Dartmouth Professor Rebecca Irwin at Rebecca.E.Irwin@dartmouth.edu

Lead author Leif Richardson, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Vermont who recently received his PhD from Dartmouth's Department of Biological Sciences, at leif.richardson@uvm.edu

Broadcast studios: Dartmouth has TV and radio studios available for interviews. For more information, visit: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~opa/radio-tv-studios/

Media Contact

John Cramer
john.cramer@dartmouth.edu
603-646-9130

 @dartmouth

http://www.dartmouth.edu 

John Cramer | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: bumble bumble bees chemicals crops floral floral nectar infections metabolites nectar parasite pollinators

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>