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Adding probiotics to bees' food helps make them more resistant to nosemosis, a fungal infection associated with colony collapse disorder that has been observed in Europe and North America over the past 20 years. Probiotics can decrease the mortality rate of this infection in bees by up to 40%, report researchers at Université Laval in the most recent edition of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Nosemosis, also called nosema disease, is caused by Nosema ceranae, a single-celled fungus of Asian origin that bees ingest with their food and that grows in the cells of their intestinal walls. "Under normal conditions, this fungus does not cause any problems for bees," explains Nicolas Derome, professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Université Laval and lead author in the study. "But when bees are subjected to stress, the microorganism can evade their immune system, causing an infection that can impair their ability to forage, hinder larval care, disturb the bees' orientation, and increase mortality."
Nosemosis - Antibiotics - Efficacy - Strains - Fungus
Currently, nosemosis is treated with antibiotics, but their efficacy is declining as resistant strains of the fungus have emerged. "In addition, these products can kill beneficial bacteria in the intestinal microbiota of bees," says Derome. "We had to find other solutions to combat this disease, and that's what gave us the idea to test probiotics."
The researchers measured the effectiveness of four probiotics on the prevention and treatment of nosemosis in bees placed in laboratory cages. Two...
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