Shan Bilimoria, a professor and molecular virologist, said the bees may be taking a one-two punch from both an insect virus and a fungus, which may be causing bees to die off by the billions.
Bilimoria is part of a team of researchers searching for the cause of the collapse. Led by research professor Jerry Bromenshenk from the University of Montana in Missoula, the group also includes virologists and chemists from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and the Instituto de Ecologica AC in Mexico.
Their study was published this week in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.
“At this stage, the study is showing an association of death rates of the bees with the virus and fungus present,” Bilimoria said. “Our contribution to this study confirms association. But even that doesn’t prove cause and effect. Not just yet.”
The mysterious colony deaths have caused major concern with scientists since much of agriculture depends on bees to pollinate crops.
To discover what might be attacking bee colonies, the team ground up dead bees that had succumbed to colony collapse disorder. Using analytical equipment, researchers discovered through spectroscopic analysis evidence of a moth virus called insect iridescent virus (IIV) 6 and a fungal parasite called Nosema.
The insect virus is closely related to another virus that wiped out bee populations 20 years ago in India, he said. Also, unlike previous research that found the deaths may be caused by a virus with RNA, the IIV 6 contains DNA.
“Our DNA discovery puts this field in a whole new direction,” he said.
Bilimoria said Texas Tech supplied the virus material for the experiments and were tested on bees with the fungus. Though an association between exposure and death was found, scientists don’t yet know if the two pathogens cause CCD or whether CCD colonies are more likely to succumb to the two pathogens.
“To prove cause and effect, we will have to isolate the virus and fungus from bee colony, and then reinfect with same virus and fungus,” Bilimoria said.
In the next part of the research project, Bilimoria will work to isolate the virus from infected bees.
“Once we isolate and identify the virus, we will have a way of monitoring it,” he said. “It is easier to fight the problem if we know what the culprit is.”
For a copy of a frequently-asked-questions sheet, please contact John Davis.
CONTACT: Shan Bilimoria, professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2710 ext. 287, (806) 239-7251 cell, or firstname.lastname@example.org
John Davis | Newswise Science News
Unique centromere type discovered in the European dodder
28.01.2020 | Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research
Atomic layer 3D printing
28.01.2020 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.
Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...
Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...
A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...
For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".
Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...
KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications
Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
07.01.2020 | Event News
28.01.2020 | Health and Medicine
28.01.2020 | Life Sciences
28.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy