Scientists develop pollen-sized particulate products that protect bees from deadly insecticides
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Common insecticides like neonicotinoids banned by the EU in 2016 are used to protect Growing crops are not infested by hungry insects, but bees are often deeply affected. These toxic substances interfere with the molecules that help bees produce energy, and may disrupt their sleep cycle, making them immobile.
This new technology is described as an antidote for these types of chemicals. The researchers first focused on the so-called organophosphorus-based pesticides, which accounted for about one-third of the market. Scientists at Cornell University have developed pollen-sized particles that can be loaded with enzymes that decompose and completely detoxify before bees absorb these pesticides.
These particles can be mixed into pollen cake or The sugar water is then fed to the bees. When they pass through the stomach, there is a protective cover to protect these enzymes, because the stomach is acidic, otherwise they will be broken down. Instead, they pass safely through the midgut, where they are digested, and enzymes can start working to break down and detoxify organophosphates.
This was first proved by in vitro experiments, and then experiments on live bees were carried out in the laboratory. In the laboratory, the insects were fed with organophosphate pesticides and particles at the same time, while the other control group only Was fed organophosphate pesticides. The scientists observed that the bees fed the pellets had a 100% survival rate, while all unprotected control bees died in the next few days.
“We have a solution, beekeeping People can feed their bees in pollen cake or syrup with our particulate product, which allows them to detoxify any pesticides that may be found in the hive,” said James Weber, a co-author of the paper and also Beemmunity. The CEO of the company, a spin-off company of the company is continuing to study the technology.
Beemmunity is developing this technology to deal with a wider range of pesticides. Many of these insecticides, including neonicotinoid insecticides, work by targeting insect proteins. In order to solve this problem, Beemmunity is developing a particle, which features a special shell made of absorbing oil and insect protein instead of enzymes. The idea is that instead of breaking down the insecticide, the particles absorb the insecticide and trap it in the shell, which can then be safely passed by bees.
“Senior author Minglin Ma said: “This It is a low-cost and scalable solution. We hope this will be the first step to solve the problem of pesticide toxicity and contribute to the protection and management of pollinators.
Beemmunity will be tested in 240 beehives in New Jersey this summer. If everything goes well, it plans to launch its products in February 2022.