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Aneta J. Strachecka, Krzysztof Olszewski and Jerzy Paleolog

Abstract

We examined the influence of curcumin-supplemented feeding on worker lifespan, Nosema resistance, key enzyme activities, metabolic compound concentrations and percentage of the global DNA methylation. Two worker groups (Apis mellifera) were set up: 1) control group; workers were fed ad libitum with sucrose syrup; 2) workers were fed with the syrup with the addition of curcumin. Dead workers were removed every two days and the Nosema spp. infection levels were assessed. Hemolymph was taken from living workers for biochemical analyses. The global DNA methylation level was analysed using DNA from worker heads and thoraces. The bees that consumed curcumin lived longer and were less infested with Nosema spp. The curcumin-treated workers had higher concentrations of proteins, non-enzymatic biomarkers (triglycerides, glucose, cholesterol, Mg2+ and Ca2+), uric acid and creatinine, as well as elevated activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD , GPx, CAT , GST ), neutral proteases, protease inhibitors, enzymatic biomarkers (AST , ALT , ALP ). The concentrations of albumin and urea, and the activities of acidic and alkaline proteases were higher in the control group. Curcumin decreased global DNA methylation levels especially in older bees in which the natural, age-related level increase was observed. Most of the parameters increased over the apian youth and adulthood, and decreased in older bees. The decrease was markedly delayed in the bees fed with curcumin. Curcumin appeared to be an unexpectedly effective natural bio-stimulator, improving apian health and vitality. This multifactorial effect is caused by the activation of many biochemical processes involved in the formation of apian resistance.

Open access

Aneta Strachecka, Grzegorz Borsuk, Jerzy Paleolog, Krzysztof Olszewski, Milena Bajda and Jacek Chobotow

Abstract

Body-surface chemical compounds were studied in 1-day-old nest workers and foragers both in Buckfast and Caucasian bees. The workers of these two age-castes were sampled twice in each of two consecutive years. Body-surface lipids were determined by means of gas chromatography, with a GCQ mass spectrometer. Protein concentrations and activities on the body surface were examined in bee cuticle rinsings obtained from worker bees according to the methods of Lowry, of Anson, and of Lee and Lin. Protease and protease inhibitor activities were determined. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was performed. Caucasian bees, particularly foragers, had more lipids, but Buckfast bees (two age-castes) had more proteins on their body surfaces. A total of 17 alkane types (C17 - C33), 13 alkene types (C21 - C33), 21 esters (C12 - C32), and a phenol (C14) were detected in both races. Alkene C33 was detected only in Caucasian bees. More alkanes, esters, and phenols were found in Caucasian 1-day-old nest workers and foragers than in these age-castes of Buckfast bees. The protein concentration and protease inhibitor activities were lower in Caucasian bees that had higher protease activities. These values corresponded with specific numbers and widths of the electrophoretic bands.

Open access

Aneta Strachecka, Grzegorz Borsuk, Krzysztof Olszewski, Jerzy Paleolog, Mariusz Gagoś, Jacek Chobotow, Agnieszka Nawrocka, Magdalena Gryzińska and Milena Bajda

Abstract

Three groups of caged bees were fed with sugar syrup (the control), sugar syrup supplemented with amphotericin B (AmB) in a dose of 0.5 mg/ml, and sugar syrup with AmB in a dose of 0.25 mg/ ml. Amphotericin B shortened the life span of the bees and reduced the level of global DNA methylation compared to the control, however, it increased the body-surface protein concentrations. In the hindguts of the bees, there were found AmB deposits. Honeybees appear to be a useful model for studying the side effects of anti-fungal AmB therapy. Among other things, epigenetic changes and senescence acceleration are considered to be the side effects of the therapy.

Open access

Michał Schulz, Radosław Ścibior, Kamil Badurowicz, Aleksandra Łoś, Milena Bajda, Justyna Tyszczuk, Patrycja Skowronek, Bartłomiej Piotrowski and Aneta J. Strachecka

Abstract

Xylocopa valga, commonly called the carpenter bee and the largest bee with metallicviolet hair cover, is extremely rarely observed in Poland. We hypothesize that a stable and possibly long-term population of X. valga can be maintained in Poland through the creation of suitable nesting conditions. X. valga has been observed since the spring of 2014 in Wisznice (south-eastern Poland). A nesting box made out of 25 wooden blocks with drilled holes was hung about 2.5 meters above the ground. X. valga were interested in the blocks made of willow wood but did not nest in the beech, alder and pine. The carpenter bees chose holes made with drill bits of 10, 15, 20 mm in diameter and a length of 10, 15 and 20 cm. X. valga flying in the same direction most often visited the flora taxa: Aquilegia vulgaris, Ballota nigra, Consolida ajacis, Delphinium consolida, Deutzia scabra, Catalpa spp., Wisteria spp., Robinia ambigua, Stachys spp. and Trifolium pretense. X. valga is a solitary bee, but unlike most other solitary bees it demonstrates aspects of social behavior. It was observed to display cohabitative behavior involving the use of a single hole by more than one female. The females showed aggressive defensive behavior and if approached too closely started buzzing loudly. The information obtained during the long-term observation shows that X. valga can be maintained in partly artificial conditions to increase and stabilize the bee population.