Dirty air broke olfactory communication giant bees

Suspended particles PM10 was extremely dangerous to bees Apis dorsata the pollutant with concentrations in air at 50 micrograms per cubic meter and above the bees is reduced survival rate, as well as disturbances in gene expression and olfactory communication. The latter is particularly important for efficient pollination of plants and can lead to disaster in agriculture. Article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

World food security depends on animal pollinators: their activity is affected in 75 percent of the crops. Most of these pollinators is bees. There are studies devoted to the reduction of populations of bumblebees in the world, but they relate mainly ecotoxicological effects of pesticide applications. Meanwhile, great uncertainty in this matter is the total anthropogenic air pollution, which is most often studied in the context of impact on human health. An ideal place that can help understand how air pollution affects the population of bees — India. This country ranks first in world exports of fruits and second largest vegetable export. Bees provide not less than 35 percent of the total harvest. Thus according to data of the who in India is 9 out of 10 most polluted cities in the world.

Scientists under the leadership of Timecode Gita (Geetha G. Thimmegowda) from the Tata Institute of fundamental research studied the effect of air pollution on giant bee Apis dorsata. The area of study they have chosen the surroundings of the metropolis of Bangalore, where he created four test sites: one in the conditions of strong, moderate and low air pollution within the city and one outside it in the countryside. Each site was attended by bee hives (Apis dorsata, unlike many other species actively nesting on buildings).

As the main pollutant of the authors of the study examined PM10 (suspended particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers, that is, coarse and medium dust). The concentration of PM10 in the city was $ 28,32±10,51, and in conditions of intense urban pollution — 98,59±55.43 micrograms per cubic meter. The work has focused on the pollination of ornamental shrub Tecoma stans — it is widely distributed in India, blooms all year round, and the bees actively pollinate it in the cities and in the countryside.

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