Publication details

Seasonal changes of antioxidant capacity in honeybee, Apis mellifera L.



Year of publication 2020
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description There are two different populations of honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) workers in our temperate climate, short-living summer population and long-living winter generation. Summer bees live from several days to few weeks; however, winter honeybees must survive the whole winter season which means to stay alive for several months. Except their life span, both honeybee populations differ for instance in the pressure of pathogens and the oxidative stress they have to face. Oxidative stress arises in case of disbalance between the production of reactive oxygen or nitrogen species and antioxidants. It leads to cell degradation which can result in senescence of organism. In honeybees, many antioxidant mechanisms are present to protect the organism against oxidative stress. The antioxidants are diverse group which includes three basic types: enzymatic, non-enzymatic and hormonal antioxidants. All of them could affect the honeybee longevity. We used fluorescent method called oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) to measure a total antioxidant capacity of honeybee haemolymph. The antioxidant capacity was followed in honeybees for almost two years in a row. We observed the higher level of antioxidants in summer populations. This could be caused by the fact that summer bees feed on plants which serve as an important source of dietary antioxidants. Interestingly, the same haemolymph samples were analysed also by electrophoresis to determine the level of vitellogenin, the yolk protein with antioxidant and other properties. Unlike the total antioxidant capacity, vitellogenin was found to be increased in the winter bee generation. Our results suggest that summer and winter honeybee population are protected by different types of antioxidants and detection of their level could help us to evaluate honeybee longevity. This project was funded by NAZV grant number QK1910286.
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