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Pheromone Boosts Honeybee Activity Leads to Healthier Hives

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					10 - Lancaster Farming, Saturday, February 19, 2011                                                                                                                                     www.lancasterfarming.com


                                                                                       Ag Science News
  Pheromone Boosts Honeybee Activity, Leads to Healthier Hives
   CORVALLIS, Ore. — The ap-                  According to Ramesh Sagili, co-          when low levels of brood pheromone        of Horticulture. “Colonies exposed to      did not support that assumption.”
plication of a naturally occurring         author on the study, “Division of la-       were introduced to experimental           low levels of synthetic brood phero-          An upper threshold for the phero-
pheromone to honeybee test colonies        bor associated with brood rearing in        hives foragers collected more pollen,     mone exhibited higher foraging pop-        mone may exist and when that thresh-
increases colony growth resulting in       the honeybee: how does it translate         Sagili said.                              ulations, a decrease in the age of first   old is reached a negative feedback
stronger hives overall, according to       to colony fitness?” resiliency to CCD          Nectar is a carbohydrate source        foraging and greater foraging effort.      might kick in, he said. Colonies may
a new study conducted by scientists        may be increased through better hive        for both adults and larvae, while pol-    The result is increased colony growth      try to balance the ratio of adults to
at Oregon State University and Texas       management and the use of optimal           len is the primary source of protein.     — an indicator of colony fitness.”         larvae, and that in turn may lead to a
A&M University.                            dose of brood pheromone — a chem-           Nurse bees use pollen to produce             The researchers also treated colo-      higher number of adults remaining in
   The study, which appeared this          ical released by honeybee larvae that       brood food that is provisioned to the     nies with high levels of brood phero-      the nest for brood care and less bees
week in the journal, PLoS ONE,             communicates the presence of larvae         growing larvae in the colony. More        mone. They found the higher treat-
                                                                                                                                                                            foraging for resources.
comes amid national concern over           in the colony to adult bees.                pollen means better overall nutrition,    ments were ineffective in increasing
the existence of honey bee Colony             The optimal dose of brood pher-          one of the areas of concern in the ap-    the number of foraging bees present           Brood pheromone is not currently
Collapse Disorder (CCD) — a com-           omone that can stimulate colony             pearance of CCD.                          in the colony, and in changing the         used in commercial beekeeping,
bination of events that result in the      growth may vary depending on the               “The low brood pheromone treat-        amount of pollen an individual bee         however its application in research
death of a bee colony.                     colony size, time of application and        ment triggered higher pollen collec-      brought back to the hive.                  may result in the uncovering of
   The causes behind CCD remain            several other factors.                      tion in the study,” said Sagili, who         “It’s logical to assume that a high-    mechanisms related to the division of
unknown, but researchers are focus-           The number of larvae present in          holds an OSU Extension Service            er dose of pheromone would result in       labor, foraging strategies and colony
ing on four possible contributing fac-     the hive affects the ratio of adult for-    appointment and studies honeybee          higher pollen collection within the        fitness.
tors: disease, pests, environmental        aging bees to nonforagers in favor          health, nutrition, pheromone biology      colonies as it would signify more lar-         Source: American Association for
conditions and nutrition.                  of foragers, said Sagili. In the study,     and pollination in OSU’s Department       vae to rear,” Sagili said. “Our results    the Advancement of Science.


   Roses Get                                                                                                                                                                  Finding a
 Celery Gene                                                                                                                                                                  Polyamine
    to Help                                                                                                                                                                     Way to
 Fight Disease                                                                                                                                                              Extend Tomato
   North Carolina State Univer-
sity research intended to extend
the “vase life” of roses inserts a
                                                                                                                                                                              Shelf Life
gene from celery inside rose plants                                                                                                                                            Tomatoes spend so much time
to help fight off botrytis, or petal                                                                                                                                        on shelves and in refrigerators that
blight, one of the rose’s major post-                                                                                                                                       an estimated 20 percent are lost to
harvest diseases.                                                                                                                                                           spoilage, according to the USDA.
   Some fungal pathogens produce
a sugar alcohol called mannitol that                                                                                                                                        But scientists with USDA’s Agri-
interferes with the plant’s ability                                                                                                                                         cultural Research Service (ARS) are
to block disease like petal blight,                                                                                                                                         working with colleagues at Purdue
which produces wilty, mushy pet-                                                                                                                                            University to extend the shelf life
als.                                                                                                                                                                        of tomatoes. The research also may
   In an effort to make roses live                                                                                                                                          lead to tomatoes that taste better and
longer, N.C. State horticultural                                                                                                                                            are more nutritious.
scientists John Dole and John                                                                                                                                                  Autar Mattoo, a plant physiolo-
Williamson led an effort to insert                                                                                                                                          gist with the agency’s Sustainable
a gene called mannitol dehydro-
genase from celery into roses to                                                                                                                                            Agricultural Systems Laboratory in
“chew up” mannitol and allow the                                                                                                                                            Beltsville, Md., joined with Avtar
                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Betty Burri     Handa, a professor of horticulture
plant to defend itself from one of its
                                                       Tangerine tomatoes might be a better source of lycopene than traditional red tomatoes.                               at Purdue, and Savithri Nambeesan,

                                                               Study: Tangerine Tomatoes
greatest threats.
   “This gene is naturally found                                                                                                                                            a graduate student working with
in many plants, but it’s uncertain                                                                                                                                          Handa, to focus on manipulating
whether the rose already has it,”                                                                                                                                           a class of nitrogen-based organic

                                                                Surpass Reds in Lycopene
Williamson said. “If it does, it                                                                                                                                            compounds known as “polyamines”
doesn’t produce enough enzyme                                                                                                                                               that act as signals and play a role in
to help the plant fight against petal
blight.”                                                                                                                                                                    the plant’s growth, flowering, fruit
   The genetically modified roses                                                                                                                                           development, ripening and other
currently growing in N.C. State test          Besides their appealing orange           entists in Ohio suggest that the tan-     that lycopene levels increased rel-        functions.
beds look and smell like “normal”          color and sweet flavor, there’s anoth-      gerine tomato’s tetra-cis-lycopene        ative to levels measured just be-             Polyamines also have been linked
roses. Now the roses will be tested        er reason to give tangerine tomatoes        is more efficiently absorbed by the       fore each one-week chili regimen           to the production of lycopene and
to see whether they’re better able to      a try this year. A one-month study          body than is the trans-lycopene of        began. However, total lycopene             other nutrients that lower the risks of
withstand petal blight.                    led by USDA scientists in Califor-          red tomatoes.                             levels increased more following            certain cancers and other diseases.
   The research is just one part of        nia has provided new evidence to               For the California study, 21           the tangerine tomato treatment                The researchers wanted to see if
an extensive N.C. State effort to          suggest that, ounce for ounce, these        healthy men and women volunteers
                                           heirloom tomatoes might be a bet-           alternated weeklong “no-lycopene”         week than following the red to-            they could increase levels of poly-
build a better rose, Dole said. Other
research thrusts include examin-           ter source of a powerful antioxidant        stints with a weeklong tangerine to-      mato treatment.                            amines in tomatoes and what the
ing the types of sugars best suited        called lycopene than are familiar           mato treatment and a weeklong red            Using a procedure known as a            effects would be of any increases.
for mixture with water to keep the         red tomatoes.                               tomato treatment.                         TBARS assay, the scientists de-            They introduced a polyamine-pro-
plants thriving after they’ve been            The difference lies in the forms of         Volunteers were asked to not eat       termined that oxidative damage             ducing yeast gene, known as sper-
cut; studying the variance in water        lycopene that the two tomato types          tomatoes or other foods rich in lyco-     decreased with both treatments,            midine synthase, into tomato plants
quality across the country to see          provide. That’s according to chem-          pene during the study, except for the     and that decreases were greater            to increase the production of a high-
which water provides the best home         ist Betty J. Burri, based at the Ag-        special lunches of kidney bean chili      following the tangerine-tomato             er polyamine spermidine that is be-
for roses; and preventing various          ricultural Research Service (ARS)           provided to them at the nutrition                                                    lieved to modulate the plant ripening
other plant diseases.                                                                                                            regimen.
                                           Western Human Nutrition Research            center during the tomato treatment           Burri and former ARS biologist          process.
   The goal is to get roses to sur-
vive for three to four weeks after         Center in Davis, Calif.                     weeks. The chili, about a two-cup         Betty K. Ishida, along with for-              The results, published in The Plant
they’ve been harvested, Dole said.            The trans-lycopene form, or iso-         serving, was made with either red         mer ARS visiting scientist Jung            Journal, showed that introducing the
Many of the roses in florists and          mer, makes up most of the lyco-             or tangerine tomato sauce, and was                                                   gene not only increased spermidine
                                           pene in common red tomatoes. In             accompanied by french bread, but-         S. Seo and others, published their
grocery stores come from Colom-                                                                                                                                             levels and vegetative growth, but
                                           contrast, most of the lycopene in           ter and a salad of leafy greens with      findings in the International Jour-
bia and Ecuador, so the longer ship-                                                                                                                                        extended the tomato’s post-harvest
ping times can reduce vase life after      tangerine tomatoes is tetra-cis-ly-         dressing.                                 nal of Food Sciences and Nutri-
                                                                                                                                                                            shelf life.
purchase.                                  copene.                                        Analyses of volunteers’ blood          tion in 2009.                                 Shriveling was delayed by up to
   Source: American Association               Results of the California inves-         samples, using high performance              Source: Marcia Wood, USDA               three weeks, and there was a slower
for the Advancement of Science.            tigation and one conducted by sci-          liquid chromatography, indicated          Agricultural Research Service.             rate of decay caused by diseases.
                                                                                                                                                                            The tomatoes also had higher levels

   Scientists Hope to Control Fungus That Caused Irish Potato Famine
                                                                                                                                                                            of lycopene. The study also shows
                                                                                                                                                                            for the first time that spermidine has
                                                                                                                                                                            its own effects independent of other
   Scientists are reporting a key ad-      as to ornamental plants like azaleas        age to global potato crops annually.      larly active form of the mating            polyamines, extending shelf life and
vance toward development of a way          and rhododendrons.                          Scientists, however, have isolated a      hormone called (3R,7R,11R,15R)-            increasing growth.
to combat the terrible plant diseases         One species of the fungus caused         key hormone, alpha-1, which allows        hormone alpha-1. The scientists               The use of molecular genetics to
that caused the Irish potato famine        the Irish potato famine in the mid          Phytophthora to reproduce. The hor-       also showed that they could make           enhance tomatoes has faced resis-
and still inflict billions of dollars of   1840s. That disaster resulted in nearly     mone exists in several different forms,   relatively large quantities of the         tance from the horticulture industry
damage to crops each year around the       1 million deaths from starvation and        and a synthetic version of the most bi-
                                                                                                                                 hormone. The advance could open            and food-processing companies. But
world. Their study appears in ACS’         forced millions more people to flee         ologically active form could provide
bi-weekly journal Organic Letters.         Ireland for the U.S. and other coun-        the basis for developing a way to con-    the door to an effective method to         scientists have used the approach to
   Teck-Peng Loh and colleagues            tries.                                      trol the fungus and reduce its threat,    fight this ancient scourge, they sug-      develop improved varieties of corn,
point out that the Phytophthora fungi         Still difficult to control despite the   the scientists suggest.                   gest.                                      soybeans and cotton.
cause extensive damage to food crops       use of modern pesticides, the fungus           They describe an advance toward           Source: American Association               Source: Dennis O’Brien, USDA
such as potatoes and soybeans as well      continues to cause $6 billion in dam-       this goal, the synthesis of a particu-    for the Advancement of Science.            Agricultural Research Service.

				
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