PLOS ONE November 9, 2016 — “(Honey Bees) Effect of 1,3-1,6 β-Glucan on Natural and Experimental Deformed Wing Virus Infection in Newly Emerged Honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica)”, PLoS One (11), November 2016. The loss of honeybee populations in the Western Hemisphere and the world will have devastating effects on agriculture, as they are key pollinators in many ecosystems.
Deformed Wing Virus is one of the main contributors to the loss of honeybee colonies. This virus persists in the bee colony until the colony eventually collapses. A concomitant infection is often present with Varroa, a mite that supports the replication of the DWV to high titers, which suppresses the bees’ immune system.
This study used Beta Glucan in several dosage sizes and in different populations of honeybees. The cohort groups were given the same treatments- no injection, injection of a high-copy number DWV suspension into the haemocel (experimental DWV infection) or injection of PBS into the haemocoel (physical injury). A group of control bees were fed a diet enriched with Beta Glucan and then they received the same treatments. The Beta Glucan group had significantly less bees infected, and their viral loads were lessened. Their survival rates were significantly better. This suggests that Beta Glucan may contribute to an increase in honeybee resistance to infections from viruses. PLOS ONE November 9, 2016. Read more..