Nutritional limitation and resistance to opportunistic Aspergillus parasites in honey bee larvae

Foley, Kirsten, Fazio, Géraldine, Jensen, Annette B and Hughes, William O H (2012) Nutritional limitation and resistance to opportunistic Aspergillus parasites in honey bee larvae. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 111 (1). pp. 68-73. ISSN 0022-2011

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Honey bees are threatened by land use changes which reduce the availability and diversity of pollen and nectar resources. There is concern that poor nutrition may be involved in recent population declines, either directly or due to indirect effects on immunocompetence. The larval stage is likely to be the most vulnerable to a poor diet, but the effects of larval nutrition on the disease susceptibility of bees are not well known. In this study we used laboratory-reared honey bee larvae to investigate the effects of diet quality on disease susceptibility to the opportunistic fungal parasites Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus phoenicis and A. fumigatus. Larvae fed on a nutritionally poor diet were found to be significantly more susceptible to A. fumigatus. Larval resistance to A. fumigatus was enhanced by feeding with a diet supplemented with either dandelion or polyfloral pollens. This indicates that dandelion and polyfloral pollens contain elements that enhance resistance to this fungal disease, illustrating an interaction between nutrition and parasitism and emphasising the benefit of diverse floral resources in the environment to maintain honey bee health

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: William Hughes
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2015 07:29
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2015 07:29
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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Host parasite genetic diversityG1019NERC-NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCILRG.IICB.475604 - NE/G006849/2