Live and dead qPCR detection demonstrates that feeding of Nosema ceranae results in infection in the honey bee but not the bumble bee

Jozef J.M. van der Steen*, Marc J.A. Hendriks, Anne D. van Diepeningen, Marga P.E. van Gent-Pelzer, Theo A.J. van der Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

As the honey bee and bumble bee may suffer from the same or related microbial pathogens, cross contamination from commercially reared Bombus spp. to honey bees and wild bumble bees and vice versa is a major concern. Honey bee-collected pollen to feed commercially reared Bombus spp. is a potential risk. Nosema spp. is a fungal pathogen in bees. In this study, we developed new quantitative detection tools based on the detection of RNA using a TaqMan-based RT-qPCR for Nosema ceranae and Nosema apis, with extraction controls based on the actin gene of honey bees and bumble bees, respectively. These tools were subsequently applied to study the epidemiology of N. ceranae, a main disease in honey bees. We screened gamma radiation and cold treatment sterilisation for their efficacy to kill N. ceranae spores fed in sugar water and in pollen to honey bees and bumble bees, respectively. N. ceranae infection in adult bumble bees was checked. Spores passing the inter-alimentary track were found but no infection was observed. N. ceranae spores were fed to honey bees. Their presence and multiplication were demonstrated, showing the spores were both viable and infectious. Our results indicate that N. ceranae found in honey bees cannot infect commercially reared bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) and, that gamma radiation effectively kills N. ceranae. The highly specific and sensitive molecular assays developed, were exploited to detect N. ceranae in pollen and faeces, which would allow more comprehensive epidemiological studies on this important pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-364
JournalJournal of Apicultural Research
Volume61
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2022

Keywords

  • Apis mellifera
  • Bombus terrestris
  • Nosema apis
  • Nosema ceranae
  • pollen dough sterilisation
  • RT-qPCR

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Live and dead qPCR detection demonstrates that feeding of Nosema ceranae results in infection in the honey bee but not the bumble bee'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this