Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one

14.03.2012
The stomachs of wild honey bees are full of healthy lactic acid bacteria that can fight bacterial infections in both bees and humans.

A collaboration between researchers at three universities in Sweden – Lund University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Karolinska Institutet – has produced findings that could be a step towards solving the problems of both bee deaths and antibiotic resistance.

The researchers have now published their results in the scientific journal PloS ONE and the legendary science photographer Professor Lennart Nilsson from Karolinska Institutet has illustrated the findings with his unique images.

Today, many people eat healthy lactic acid bacteria that are added to foods such as yogurt.

“In our previous studies, we have looked at honey bees in Sweden. What we have now found from our international studies is that, historically, people of all cultures have consumed the world’s greatest natural blend of healthy bacteria in the form of honey”, says Alejandra Vasquez, a researcher at Lund University.

In wild and fresh honey, which honey hunters collect from bees’ nests in high cliffs and trees, there are billions of healthy lactic acid bacteria of 13 different types. This is in comparison with the 1–3 different types found in commercial probiotic products, she explains.

The honey bees have used these bacteria for 80 million years to produce and protect their honey and their bee bread (bee pollen), which they produce to feed the entire bee colony. The researchers have now also shown that the healthy lactic acid bacteria combat the two most serious bacterial diseases to affect honey bees.

In the journal article, the researchers describe how the bees have these healthy bacteria in their honey stomachs and that they get the bacteria as newborns from the adult bees that feed them. The researchers have also seen that large quantities of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi are found in the nectar and pollen that the bees collect from flowers to make honey and bee bread. These microorganisms could destroy the food through fermentation and mould in just a couple of hours, but in fact, the healthy bacteria in the honey stomach kill all the microorganisms.

“As humans have learnt to use honey to treat sore throats, colds and wounds, our hypothesis is that the healthy bee bacteria can also kill harmful disease bacteria in humans. We have preliminary, unpublished results which show that this could be a new tool to complement or even replace antibiotics”, says Alejandra Vasquez.

The present study also shows that bees’ healthy bacteria die when beekeepers treat bees preventively with antibiotics, which primarily happens in the USA. The bees have their own defence system against disease in the form of cooperative healthy bacteria. However, this system is weakened in commercially farmed bees that are treated with antibiotics, suffer stress, eat synthetic food instead of their own honey and bee bread and are forced to fly in fields sprayed with pesticides.

“Our results provide the research community with an undiscovered key that could explain why bees are dying worldwide in the mysterious ‘colony collapse disorder’”, says Tobias Olofsson.

Researchers at Lund University:
Dr Alejandra Vásquez, email: alejandra.vasquez@med.lu.se, mobile: +46 705 898089
Dr Tobias Olofsson, email: tobias.olofsson@med.lu.se, mobile: +46 706 837683

Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
Further information:
http://www.lu.se
http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.003318

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>