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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

Im Focus: Dynamics of individual proteins

New measurement method allows researchers to precisely follow the movement of individual molecules over long periods of time

The function of proteins – the molecular tools of the cell – is governed by the interplay of their structure and dynamics. Advances in electron microscopy have...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

Major Project: The New Silk Road

01.10.2018 | Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physics: Not everything is where it seems to be

15.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Microfluidic molecular exchanger helps control therapeutic cell manufacturing

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Link between Gut Flora and Multiple Sclerosis Discovered

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>