The OSU Research Retinue goes into depth on research papers that have been recently featured in the news. We convened Retinue this week to review a paper that got a fair amount of press over the past few months. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicides in the world and is regarded as relatively non-toxic to bees and other pollinating insects. A study by Erick Motta and his colleagues from the University of Hawaii at Manoa demonstrate an indirect link between glyphosate and honey bee health in a laboratory study, namely a link to bacteria found in honey bee guts that helps fend off diseases.
This week’s retinue consists of OSU undergraduates Addison DeBoer (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Lacey Jane (Zoology), Isabella Messer (Horticulture) and Umayyah Wright (Geography).
Learn more about the recent research studying the effects of glyphosate on honeybees, and how glyphosate can indirectly affect their gut homogenate.
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“Those lactobacillus bacteria are supposed to not be sensitive to the glyphosate, so it’s weird that the single dose would affect them, but when there’s a double dose, there seems to be no change.” – Addison DeBoer
- What makes up the microbiome of a honeybee
- How glyphosate works as an herbicide
- Why glyphosate indirectly affects bees health
- How the study was conducted
- The two different kinds of significant bacteria found in the honeybee gut
- What could have improved the study
- How the timing and frequency of applying glyphosate affects honeybees
- The different ways that science and news outlets are reporting this story
“The bees that had none of the gut homogenate and the bees that have the gut homogenate and glyphosate were affected almost exactly the same, which shows that the effect of glyphosate basically counteracts all of the positive effects of the gut homogenate.” – Addison DeBoer
Check out the studies mentioned on today’s episode:
- Motta, V. S. E, Raymann, K, and Moran, N. A. (2018) Glyphosate perturbs the gut microbiota of honey bees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), (41): 10305-10310
- Thompson, H. M., Levine, S. L., Doering, J., Norman, S., Manson, P., Sutton, P., and von Mérey, G. (2014). Evaluating exposure and potential effects on honeybee brood (Apis mellifera) development using glyphosate as an example. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 10(3): 463-470.