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Detoxifying enzymes encapsulated in microparticles can protect bees from pesticides.



The most commonly used pesticides which is designed to kill insects on contact. It is also a poison in the bee swarm.

Scientists have discovered a way to deliver an antidote using tiny pollen-like particles. The drug contains a special enzyme that can destroy a certain group of pesticides called organophosphates.

These pesticides are deadly. But if the right enzyme enters the body of the bee under the right conditions They can destroy some pesticides before they digest and kill the bees.

When researchers tested the antidote – in this case amidohydrolase phosphotriesterase, or OPT – in a small group of common bumblebee (Bombus Impens) the survival rate is absolute.

In the lab, the male bee feeds on pollen that is full of malthion. which is an organophosphate that is highly toxic to bees die within four or five days meanwhile Bees fed malathione and the microparticle-transmitted OPT antidote had a 1

00 percent survival rate.

Bees that were given only an unprotected microparticle antidote had the same fate as bees that were fed only malatione.

The problem is, when bees eat venom pollen. They are trapped in the intestines for up to 12 hours, which makes them difficult to get rid of. This means that the antidote must reach the gut before these toxins can be digested.

Although OPT is effective in eliminating organophosphate toxicity, But it loses stability and degrades performance at high temperatures and low pH levels. This explains the digestive environment of bees.

To avoid being destroyed in the acidic stomach of the bees. The researchers then placed the OPT in protective microparticles made of calcium carbonate, about the size of a pollen grain and dubbed PIM, or pollen-inspired microparticle.

PIMs protect OPT through the stomach. This makes it possible to detoxify pesticides in more suitable conditions.

The diagram shows that pollen-sized particles can be detoxified in the stomach of bees with insecticides.(Chen et al., Natural Foods, 2021)

James Webb, a Biological and Environmental Engineer at Cornell University, explains, “We have a solution where beekeepers can feed their bees with our microparticle products in pollen patties or in sugar syrup. and help them detoxify the nests of pesticides they may find” .

Webb, one of the study’s co-authors, is now the CEO of Beemmunity, a company that uses microparticles and has the potential to heal bee colonies. Two of the study authors are also shareholders in Beemmunity.

Today, pesticide residues are commonly found in bee honey, beeswax and pollen, and while none of the chemicals have been the cause of recent and catastrophic bee erosion. Some organophosphates, such as malatione, seem to make hives a higher risk.

Although this group of pesticides is widespread in agriculture. But there are other toxic substances. that bees are also harmed

Neonicotinoids It is a type of pesticide that is widely used all over the world. It is thought to be harmful to the lifespan and reproduction of bees.

To target more than one group of pesticides, Beemmunity added a special absorbent oil to the microparticles. This creates a kind of sponge. It sucks the neon nicotinoids hidden in the bees’ intestines up into the shell of tiny particles. The venom that is quarantined is later expelled by bees.

Beemunity plans to test this porous microparticle with 240 hives this summer.

Considering that pesticides are everywhere and how long they can persist in the food chain, Clearing the environment of these toxins is incredibly difficult. Finding the antidote might be our best approach.

The study was published in natural food.


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