Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MSU research may lead to new ways to control honeybee parasite

11.12.2009
Ground-breaking discoveries by Michigan State University researchers could help protect honeybees from deadly parasites that have devastated commercial colonies.

The MSU researchers for the first time were able to produce in the laboratory proteins that help channel sodium ions through cell membranes of parasites known as Varroa mites.

The research, using cellular frog eggs, also found that these proteins react to chemicals differently than the sodium channel proteins in honeybees, a finding that could be a key to controlling the mites.

"The insecticide used to control Varroa mites, fluvalinate, targets the mite sodium channel," said Ke Dong, MSU professor of entomology. "But the mites are becoming resistant to fluvalinate. Successfully producing the mite sodium channel in the lab now allows scientists to develop new chemicals that target the mite sodium channel but don't affect the honeybee’s."

Fluvalinate paralyzes the mite and eventually kills it. But in addition to the problem of growing mite resistance, the pesticide can harm bees and contaminate honey if not used extremely carefully.

The MSU scientists also found two amino acids in the mite sodium channel that make the mite resistant to tetrodotoxin, or TTX, a deadly poison found in pufferfish not currently used as an insecticide

"Chemicals such as fluvalinate and TTX target sodium channels in insects and mites, so this basic research opens the door for more applied research on chemicals to control mites and other pest insects," Dong said.

Other members of the MSU team are Yuzhe Du, senior research associate; Yoshiko Nomura, visiting scholar; Zhiqi Liu, former research associate; and Zachary Huang, associate professor, all in the Department of Entomology.

Varroa mites invaded the United States from the eastern hemisphere in 1987 and can kill an entire honeybee colony within a year, feeding on bee blood and transmitting viruses. The mites wiped out nearly 50 percent of the U.S. commercial honeybee population in 2004.

Varroa mites also may possibly contribute to colony collapse disorder, or CCD, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. First described in 2006, CCD is the official name for the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of bees from hives around the world. Scientists have not been able to find a cause.

"These mites are a big, big problem for agriculture," Huang said. "Nearly 80 percent of food crops depend on pollination."

In Michigan, fruit and vegetable crops valued at $400 million depend on honeybee pollination and honey and beeswax add another $5 million to the state's economy each year. Nationwide, bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA. It's estimated that one out of every three bites of food people eat is made possible by pollination.

The research is published in the Dec. 4 issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The MSU research is funded by the U.S Department of Agriculture and Project GREEEN, Michigan's plant agriculture initiative at MSU. The research of Dong and Huang also is supported by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.

Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

Jamie DePolo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

Further reports about: CCD MSU TTX Tetrodotoxin agriculture amino acid bee pollination cell membrane food crop food crops

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>