Microalgae have proven to be more nutritious than artificial pollen for bees

Spirulina (blue-green Alga Arthrospira platensis) with nutritional benefits consistent with the pollen in diet of honey bees and surpasses the substitute of the pollen. Seaweed contains all the essential amino acids bees; eating her insects quickly gain weight, they highlighted vitellogenin, a marker of food quality. In addition, bees that were fed spirulina increased the level of good bacteria of the intestine. After more research on the colonies of bees this Alga can be used as a new nutritional Supplement for honeybees. Article published in the journal Apidologie.

Beekeepers often feed bees with pollen substitute in times when natural food is not enough, or when they want to increase the colony before the pollinator period. It is possible to feed bees and the pollen they have collected themselves, but the process is expensive, difficult to standardize, and this pollen can be transmitted diseases, or it may contain pesticides.

Substitutes for pollen consists of proteins, which are derived from soybeans, yeast, eggs, wheat or lentils. However, some substitutes are not enough nutrients: for example, products based on soy contain toxic sugars and inhibitors of proteases. Modern commercial pollen substitutes, apparently, correspond to the pollen for nutritional value, but their composition is proprietary and hidden, and to study the effect of individual components impossible.

Recently widespread as a feed Supplement for aquatic and terrestrial animals received a microalgae, for example, a single-celled blue-green algae Arthrospira platensis, known as spirulina. Their nutritional properties are well studied; the algae grow and multiply quickly and are easy to grow in industrial scale.

Vincent Richilano (Vincent Ricigliano) and Michael Simone-Finstrom (Michael Simone-Finstrom) from the laboratory of plant breeding, genetics and physiology of honey bees agricultural research Service of the Department of agriculture, the United States learned of the potential of spirulina as feed for honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Newborn working bees settled cells at 50 individuals (only used over one hundred of the cells with insects) and fed sugar, pollen, a commercial pollen substitute, dry or fresh spirulina.

On the fifth and tenth day of the experiment from each cell randomly selected ten individuals for physiological and molecular analysis. Each bee has separated the head, thorax, and abdomen. The Breasts were dried and measured the average weight for each cell in the head by spectrophotometry determined the protein structure. Half of the bees from brusek took out the intestines and measured the average fat mass, in the second half with the help of genetic analysis we determined the diversity of gut bacteria and gene expression vitellogenin. This lipoprotein allocates a fatty body of bees, its production is associated with the fat content of food and is a marker of the nutritional status of bees.

The contents of all 15 of the examined amino acids in spirulina is consistent with the pollen or was higher, and the pollen substitute all amino acids, except histidine and lysine, was less. Five and ten her experiment, more weight was gathered by bees that fed on the dry spirulina; the content of protein in the head was the highest in a diet of pollen substitute and did not differ when feeding on pollen and spirulina; the large fat mass was the bees who ate spirulina and pollen.

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