Two honeybees on a white flower

Journal Club Article for October 15, 2021

On Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th , 2021, from 12–1pm, we will dis­cuss the linked arti­cle at our next week­ly Jour­nal Club meet­ing. The arti­cle is titled “Translo­ca­tion of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals from waste­water into bee­hives”, and will be pre­sent­ed by STEM Research Men­tor Jor­dan Palmer.

Abstract: To inves­ti­gate the dis­tances at which hon­ey bee for­agers col­lect nec­tar and pollen, we analysed 5,484 decod­ed wag­gle dances made to nat­ur­al for­age sites to deter­mine month­ly for­ag­ing dis­tance for each for­age type. First­ly, we found sig­nif­i­cant­ly few­er over­all dances made for pollen (16.8 %) than for non-pollen, pre­sum­ably nec­tar (83.2 %; P < 2.2 × 10–23). When we analysed dis­tance against month and for­age type, there was a sig­nif­i­cant inter­ac­tion between the two fac­tors, which demon­strates that in some months, one for­age type is There has been a sub­stan­tial research focus on the pres­ence of pes­ti­cides in flow­ers and the sub­se­quent expo­sure to hon­ey­bees. Here we demon­strate for the first time that hon­ey­bees can also be exposed to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, com­mon­ly present in waste­water. Residues of car­ba­mazepine (an anti-epilep­tic drug) up to 371 ng/mL and 30 µg/g were detect­ed in nec­tar and pollen sam­pled from zuc­chi­ni flow­ers (Cucur­bi­ta pepo) grown in car­ba­mazepine spiked soil (0.5–20 µg/g). Under real­is­tic expo­sure con­di­tions from the use of recy­cled waste­water, car­ba­mazepine con­cen­tra­tions were esti­mat­ed to be 0.37 ng/L and 30 ng/kg in nec­tar and pollen, respec­tive­ly. Incor­po­ra­tion of envi­ron­men­tal­ly rel­e­vant car­ba­mazepine residues in nec­tar and pollen into a mod­el­ling frame­work able to sim­u­late bee­hive dynam­ics includ­ing the hon­ey­bee for­ag­ing activ­i­ty at the land­scape scale (BEEHAVE and BEESCOUT) enabled the sim­u­la­tion of car­ba­mazepine translo­ca­tion from zuc­chi­ni fields into hon­ey­bee hives. Car­ba­mazepine accu­mu­la­tion was mod­elled in 11 bee­hives across a 25 km² land­scape over three years cho­sen to rep­re­sent dis­tinct cli­mat­ic con­di­tions. Dur­ing a sin­gle flow­er­ing peri­od, car­ba­mazepine con­cen­tra­tions were sim­u­lat­ed to range between 0 and 2478 ng per bee­hive. The amount of car­ba­mazepine gath­ered not only var­ied across the sim­u­lat­ed years but there were also dif­fer­ences in accu­mu­la­tion of car­ba­mazepine between bee­hives with­in the same year. This work illus­trates a fun­da­men­tal first step in assess­ing the risk of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to bees through real­is­tic sce­nar­ios by demon­strat­ing a method to quan­ti­fy poten­tial expo­sure of hon­ey­bees at the land­scape scale. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals are being inad­ver­tent­ly but increas­ing­ly applied to agri­cul­tur­al lands glob­al­ly via the use of waste­water for agri­cul­tur­al irri­ga­tion in response to water scarci­ty prob­lems. We have demon­strat­ed a route of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal expo­sure to hon­ey­bees via con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed nec­tar and pollen. Giv­en the bio­log­i­cal poten­cy of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, accu­mu­la­tion of these chem­i­cals in nec­tar and pollen sug­gest poten­tial impli­ca­tions for hon­ey­bee health, with unknown ecosys­tem consequences.

Meet­ing ID: 549 554 5262

Mas­sas­oit STEM events are open to ALL Mas­sas­oit stu­dents, fac­ul­ty, and staff.

Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege encour­ages per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties to par­tic­i­pate in its pro­grams and activ­i­ties. If you antic­i­pate need­ing any type of accom­mo­da­tion or have ques­tions relat­ed to access for this event, please con­tact the Divi­sion of Sci­ence and Math­e­mat­ics at in advance of your par­tic­i­pa­tion or vis­it.

Pho­to by Rahul Pradeep on Unsplash

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