Age and Method of Inoculation Influence the Infection of Worker Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) by Nosema ceranae



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Urbieta-Magro, Almudena and Higes, Mariano and Meana Mañes, Aránzazu and Barrios, Laura and Martín-Hernández, Raquel (2019) Age and Method of Inoculation Influence the Infection of Worker Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) by Nosema ceranae. Insects, 10 (12). p. 417. ISSN 2075-4450

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The microsporidian parasite Nosema ceranae is a highly prevalent, global honey bee pathogen. Apis mellifera is considered to be a relatively recent host for this microsporidia, which raises questions as to how it affects its host’s physiology, behavior and longevity, both at the individual and colony level. As such, honey bees were inoculated with fresh purified spores of this pathogen, both individually (Group A) or collectively (Group B) and they were studied from 0 to 15 days post-emergence (p.e.) to evaluate the effect of bee age and the method of inoculation at 7 days post-infection. The level of infection was analyzed individually by qPCR by measuring the relative amount of the N. ceranae polar tubule protein 3 (PTP3) gene. The results show that the bee’s age and the method of infection directly influence parasite load, and thus, early disease development. Significant differences were found regarding bee age at the time of infection, whereby the youngest bees (new-born and 1 day p.e.) developed the highest parasite load, with this load decreasing dramatically in bees infected at 2 days p.e. before increasing again in bees infected at 3–4 days p.e. The parasite load in bees infected when older than 4 days p.e. diminished as they aged. When the age cohort data was pooled and grouped according to the method of infection, a significantly higher mean concentration and lower variation in N. ceranae infection was evident in Group A, indicating greater variation in experimental infection when spores were administered collectively to bees through their food. In summary, these data indicate that both biological and experimental factors should be taken into consideration when comparing data published in the literature.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Apis mellifera; Nosema ceranae; host-parasite interactions; age of infection; epidemiology; method of infection; parasite load
Subjects:Medical sciences > Veterinary > Feral and exotic animals
Medical sciences > Veterinary > Parasitology
ID Code:65040
Deposited On:22 Apr 2021 14:29
Last Modified:23 Apr 2021 07:51

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