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Pollen nutrition fosters honeybee tolerance to pesticides

Abstract : A reduction in floral resource abundance and diversity is generally observed in agro-ecosystems, along with widespread exposure to pesticides. Therefore, a better understanding on how the availability and quality of pollen diets can modulate honeybee sensitivity to pesticides is required. For that purpose, we evaluated the toxicity of acute exposure and chronic exposures to field realistic and higher concentrations of azoxystrobin (fungicide) and sulfoxaflor (insecticide) in honeybees provided with pollen diets of differing qualities (named S and BQ pollens). We found that pollen intake reduced the toxicity of the acute doses of pesticides. Contrary to azoxystrobin, chronic exposures to sulfoxaflor increased by 1.5- to 12-fold bee mortality, which was reduced by pollen intake. Most importantly, the risk of death upon exposure to a high concentration of sulfoxaflor was significantly lower for the S pollen diet when compared with the BQ pollen diet. This reduced pesticide toxicity was associated with a higher gene expression of vitellogenin, a glycoprotein that promotes bee longevity, a faster sulfoxaflor metabolization and a lower concentration of the phytochemical p -coumaric acid, known to upregulate detoxification enzymes. Thus, our study revealed that pollen quality can influence the ability of bees to metabolize pesticides and withstand their detrimental effects, providing another strong argument for the restoration of suitable foraging habitat.
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Contributor : Léna Barascou <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 2:59:00 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 3:08:00 AM


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Lena Barascou, Deborah Sene, Alexandre Barraud, Denis Michez, Victor Lefebvre, et al.. Pollen nutrition fosters honeybee tolerance to pesticides. Royal Society Open Science, The Royal Society, 2021, 8 (9), pp.210818. ⟨10.1098/rsos.210818⟩. ⟨hal-03337006⟩



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