Increased alarm pheromone component is associated with Nosema ceranae infected honeybee colonies

Mayack, Christopher and Broadrup, Robert L. and Schick, Sassicaia J. and Eppley, Elizabeth J. and Khan, Zaeema and MacHerone, Anthony (2021) Increased alarm pheromone component is associated with Nosema ceranae infected honeybee colonies. Royal Society Open Science, 8 (4). ISSN 2054-5703

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Use of chemicals, such as alarm pheromones, for rapid communication with conspecifics is widespread throughout evolutionary history. Such chemicals are particularly important for social insects, such as the honeybee (Apis mellifera), because they are used for collective decision-making, coordinating activities and self-organization of the group. What is less understood is how these pheromones change due to an infection and what the implications might be for social communication. We used semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction (sqPCR) to screen for a common microsporidian gut parasite, Nosema ceranae, for 30 hives, across 10 different locations. We then used high-resolution accurate mass gas chromatography-quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry to generate an exposome profile for each hive. Of the 2352 chemical features identified, chemicals associated with infection were filtered for cosanes or cosenes. A significant association was found between N. ceranae and the presence of (Z)-11-eicosen-1-ol, a known alarm pheromone component. The increase in (Z)-11-eicosen-1-ol could be the recognition mechanism for healthy individuals to care for, kill, or quarantine infected nestmates. Nosema ceranae has contributed to the global decline in bee health. Therefore, altered alarm pheromones might play a role in disrupting social harmony and have potential impacts on colony health.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: (Z)-11-eicosen-1-ol; Apis mellifera; colony collapse; hive health; honeybees; Nosema ceranae
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences > Academic programs > Biological Sciences & Bio Eng.
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Depositing User: Christopher Mayack
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2022 22:23
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2022 22:23

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