The Effect of Dietary Vitamin C on Carbohydrate Concentrations and Hydrolase Activity, During the Development of Honey Bee Worker Brood

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The colony collapse disorder is a growing problem world-wide. For this reason, we were prompted to search for natural and harmless agents that could improve the living conditions of honey bees. This group of agents includes exogenous antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid, which boost natural immunity. We analysed the effect of vitamin C supplementation on carbohydrate metabolism in the developing honey bee worker brood. The total carbohydrate content and the concentrations of glycogen, trehalose, maltotriose, fructose, and glucose were estimated. The correlations between sugar content and the activity of the main hydrolases of carbohydrate metabolism - α-amylase, glucoamylase, trehalase, maltase, and sucrase - were determined. The addition of vitamin C to the diet of wintering bees did not impair their sugar metabolism. Vitamin C supplements exerted a positive effect by significantly increasing glycogen and trehalose concentrations in the initial phase of development and in newly emerged workers. Vitamin C did not induce significant changes in the developmental profile of carbohydrate degrading enzymes, except for the earliest stage of larval development when enzyme activity levels were below those noted in the control group.

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