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Honey Bee Vitellogenin Contributes to the Bee's Health and Lifespan

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Chennai, December 1, 2011: In honey bee workers, vitellogenin is known to influence hormone signaling, food-related behavior, immunity, stress resistance and longevity. Giving details of the research work being undertaken at the Amdam Lab, Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Dr. Gro Amdam explains: "the regulatory action of juenile hormone on vitellogenin activity is inverted in honey bees, and we have found that this vitellogenin has functions not identified in other species. First, the worker caste is charactrerized by a positive feedback loop in which vitellogenin affects the hormonal control system to suppress the systemic juvenile hormone level. Second, this vitellogenin can prolong life also as a scavenger of free radicals, thereby protecting the bee against oxidative stress damage (as established marker of aging). As vitellogenin levels primarily are functions of the bees'social roles, this relationship suggests that honey bee aging is best explained by social function rather than by chronological age."

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Diesel Fumes Could Be A Factor for Colony Collapse Disorder

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Chennai, October 9, 2011: The Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that causes serious decline in bee colonies in several countries, is considered a result of several factors affecting the honey bees. A 2010 report on 'Global Honey Bee Colony Disorders and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators' by the United Nations Environment Programme, lists some important reasons as: habitat degradation, including the loss of flowering plant species that provide food for bees; insecticides, including the systemic ones, which can be taken in by bees in nectar and pollen; parasties and pests, mainly the Varroa mite, Nosema ceranae and viruses, and, air pollution, which may interfere with the ability of bees to find flowering plants and thus food. To this last factor is added one more possibility: scientists from the University of Southampton  are suggesting nanoparticles in diesel fuel may be a contributing factor in CCD. Following is a news release dated October 7, 2011 by the University of Southampton on this subject.

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Nosema ceranae and an Invertebrate Iridescent Virus in Tandem Cause Colony Collapse Disorder

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Chennai, October 7, 2010 (Thanks to Dr. Amy Dworsky, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago for the news alert): Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been the subject of intensive research in the USA and several other affected countries. As a news item dated May 30, 2010 in this site informed, researchers of the United States Department of Agriculture found that presence of 2 or 3 RNA viruses from the family Dicistroviridae and spores of Nosema ceranae was significant cause of the CCD. In the latest research findings by a team of US Army scientists from Maryland and researchers at the University of Montana, led by Dr. Jerry J. Bromenshenk, the Montana State University, the Bee Alert Technology company in Montana, Instituto de Ecologia AC, Mexico and at the Texas Tech University, Lubbock, seem to confirm this pair of fungal and viral microbes being the cause of CCD. The study, the results of which are published1 in the latest online issue of the Journal PLoS One, however, shows that instead of the RNA viruses, a newly observed DNA Invertebrate Iridescent Virus (IIV) of Iridoviridae family was invariably associated with the CCD bees. For its study of the cause of CCD, the Army-University team used a new software developed by the military for analyzing proteins. The mass spectrometry-based proteomics (MSP) helped the team to identify and quantify thousands of proteins from healthy and collapsing bee colonies in an attempt to make out potential markers of CCD.

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Nosema ceranae and Some RNA Viruses May Be Behind Colony Collapse Disorder

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Pune, May 30, 2010 (sources: News release dated May 25, 2010 from the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, San Diego; BBC News dated May 26, 2010; Indiana Public Media Earth Eats dated May 26, 2010; EurekAlert  Public Release dated May 25, 2010; Science Daily news dated May 26, 2010): The news dated August 31, 2009 in this site reported the finding – by a team of researchers at the department of entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Bee Research Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville (USDA) – of fragmented ribosomal RNA (rRNA) in the honey bee genome as a reliable marker of colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Continuing studies by USDA scientists show that Nosema ceranae and three RNA viruses may together be contributing to the CCD. The scientists reported their results at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego on May 25, 2010. Following is the news release dated May 25, 2010 given by Garth Hogan of the American Society for Microbiology.

Microbial team may be culprit in colony collapse disorder
New research from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) identifies a new potential cause for "Colony Collapse Disorder" in honeybees. A group of pathogens including a fungus and family of viruses may be working together to cause the decline. Scientists report their results today at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.

"There might be a synergism between two very different pathogens," says Jay Evans of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, a researcher on the study. "When they show up together there is a significant correlation with colony decline."

Beginning in October 2006, some beekeepers began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. Although colony losses are not unexpected during winter weather, the magnitude of loss suffered by some beekeepers was highly unusual.

"Domesticated honey bees face numerous pests and pathogens, tempting hypotheses that colony collapses arise from exposure to new or resurgent pathogens," says Evans.

To better understand the cause of these collapses, in early 2007 Evans and his colleagues collected bees from both healthy and declining colonies across the country but primarily from California and Florida where most of the commercial pollination activity takes place. They have screened these samples and similar samples from each year since then for both known and novel pathogens.

They found a slightly higher incidence of a fungal pathogen known as Nosema ceranae in sick colonies, but it was not statistically significant until they began pairing it with other pathogens.

"Levels of the fungus were slightly higher in sick colonies, but the presence of that fungus and 2 or 3 RNA viruses from the family Dicistroviridae is a pretty strong predictor of collapse," says Evans.

Nosema are transferred between bees via the fecal-oral route. When a bee initially ingests the microbes and they get to the mid-gut, they harpoon themselves into the gut wall and live inside the epithelial cells there. Evans believes that the slightly higher numbers of the fungus somehow compromise the gut wall and allow the viruses to overwhelm the bees. In colonies with higher Nosema numbers they found virus levels to be 2-3 times greater than healthy colonies.

While this is a working theory and they are still in the discovery phase looking for new pathogens, Evans and his colleagues are also actively looking for a way to boost bee defenses against Nosema.

"A way to protect against Nosema might be the key for now," says Evans.

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Contact: Garth Hogan
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American Society for Microbiology

Cellphone Radiation Affects Honey Bees – Punjab University Chandigarh Study

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Pune, May 29, 2010 (sources: The Hindu dated May 28, 2010; The Financial Express dated May 28, 2010; Research Communication in Current Science Volume 98, No. 10, May 25, 2010): Butterflies, birds and bees and even plants – all are affected by electromagnetic fields created by cellphones and microwave towers used for telecommunication.

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