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 Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>