Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Honeybees' Foraging for Flowers Masked by Diesel Fumes

Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Exposure to common air pollutants found in diesel exhaust pollution can affect the ability of honeybees to recognise floral odours, new University of Southampton research shows.

Honeybees use floral odours to help locate, identify and recognise the flowers from which they forage. 

The Southampton team, led by Dr Tracey Newman and Professor Guy Poppy, found that diesel exhaust fumes change the profile of flora odour. They say that these changes may affect honeybees’ foraging efficiency and, ultimately, could affect pollination and thus global food security.

Published in Scientific Reports the study mixed eight chemicals found in the odour of oil rapeseed flowers with clean air and with air containing diesel exhaust. Six of the eight chemicals reduced (in volume) when mixed with the diesel exhaust air and two of them disappeared completely within a minute, meaning the profile of the chemical mix had completely changed. The odour that was mixed with the clean air was unaffected.

Furthermore, when the researchers used the same process with NOx gases (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide), which is found in diesel exhaust, they saw the same outcome, suggesting that NOx was a key facilitator in how and why the odour’s profile was altered. The changed chemical mix was then shown to honeybees, which could not recognise it.

Dr Newman, a neuroscientist at the University, comments: “Honeybees have a sensitive sense of smell and an exceptional ability to learn and memorize new odours. NOx gases represent some of the most reactive gases produced from diesel combustion and other fossil fuels, but the emissions limits for nitrogen dioxide are regularly exceeded, especially in urban areas. Our results suggest that that diesel exhaust pollution alters the components of a synthetic floral odour blend, which affects the honeybee’s recognition of the odour. This could have serious detrimental effects on the number of honeybee colonies and pollination activity.”

Professor Poppy, an ecologist at the University, adds: “Honeybee pollination can significantly increase the yield of crops and they are vital to the world’s economy - £430 million a year to the UK alone. However to forage effectively they need to be able to learn and recognize the plants. The results indicate that NOx gases — particularly nitrogen dioxide — may be capable of disrupting the odour recognition process that honeybees rely on for locating floral food resources. Honeybees use the whole range of chemicals found in a floral blend to discriminate between different blends, and the results suggest that some chemicals in a blend may be more important than others.”


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

£1.4M Funding to Safeguard Global Food Security
Researchers are part of a project that has received £1.4 million in new funding to explore how plants manipulate soils to extract more water and nutrients.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Sensor Detects Harmful Bacteria on Food Industry Surfaces
A new device designed to sample and detect foodborne bacteria is being trialled by scientists at the University of Southampton.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Scientific News
Pesticide Found in 70 Percent of Massachusetts’ Honey Samples
New Harvard University study says that the pesticide commonly found in honey samples is implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder.
Printed "Smart Cap" Detects Spoiled Food
It might not be long before consumers can just hit “print” to create an electronic circuit or wireless sensor in the comfort of their homes.
Red Wine Antioxidant May Provide New Cancer Therapy Options
Resveratrol and quercetin, two polyphenols that have been widely studied for their health properties, may soon become the basis of an important new advance in cancer treatment,
New Research will Show How the Environment Could Change the Way We Eat
A new study funded by the Wellcome Trust will investigate how environmental changes over the next 20-30 years may impact the way we eat, in the UK and worldwide.
Blue LEDs Can be Used to Preserve Food
Blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) have strong antibacterial effect on major foodborne pathogens and can be used as a chemical-free food preservation method, a new study has found.
FDA Declares Trans Fatty Acids Unsafe for Consumption
TFAs are widely recognized as the most harmful fat with regard to causing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Fat, Sugar Cause Bacterial Changes that may Relate to Loss of Cognitive Function
A study has indicated that both a high-fat and a high-sugar diet, compared to a normal diet, cause changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of "cognitive flexibility," or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.
How Anthrax Spores Grow in Cultured Human Tissues
New findings to help predict risk and outcomes of anthrax attacks.
Food Research at the Microscale
Thermal stage microscopy allows food science microscopists to analyze samples under a range of conditions.
Chocolate, Chocolate, It's Good For Your Heart
Here's a sweet notion: Eat a little chocolate each day and you could be doing your heart a favor.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!