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

Join For Free

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 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ 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
Bird Flu Confirmed in the Netherlands
An outbreak of H5 avian influenza was confirmed in the Flevoland province of the Netherlands.
Pasteurised Bacterium Reduces Obesity and Diabetes
Researchers have discovered that an intestinal bacterium provides a lasting effect on the intestinal barrier.
Failings in Conveying Risks of Undercooked Meat
A study has found that restaurants do not communicate the risks of eating undercooked meats.
Accelerating the Detection of Foodborne Bacterial Outbreaks
The speed of diagnosis of foodborne bacterial outbreaks could be improved by a new technique developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Sweet Tooth Science - Chocolate Antioxidants
Researchers develop a faster and cheaper method to test for antioxidants in chocolate.
Food Additives Promote Inflammation, Colon Cancer
Dietary emulsifiers promoted colon cancer in a mouse model by altering gut microbes and increasing gut inflammation.
Detecting Food Contaminants with a Smartphone
Researchers aim to develop a novel food safety monitoring method using a smartphone.
Alarming Glyphosate Levels Found in Foods
Glyphosate has been found at alarming levels in a wide range of best-selling foods across the U.S.
Are Sweeteners as Natural as We Think?
New research study supports stevia’s naturality by identifying nine required molecules present in the dried stevia leaf.
Pre-Cut Salad May Encourage Growth of Salmonella
Study suggests damage to produce in bagged salads encourage the presence of Salmonella.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!