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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #435426

Research Project: Natural Products to Control Honey Bee Disease

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-290-22-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 21, 2018
End Date: Dec 15, 2020

Objective:
The long-term goal of this project is to improve honey bee health and colony survival. This will lead to increased hive product yield, lower pollination fees, increased crop yield, and greater domestic food security. The proposed agreement is focused on identifying, prioritizing, and conducting initial laboratory screens for natural medicines that are generally recognized as safe and that quantifiably improve honey bee health. We will prioritize and screen 30 natural products (NP’s), and set the stage for field trials of the most promising compounds.

Approach:
1) The first task is to compile a list of natural products (NP’s) that are generally recognized as safe by the U.S. FDA, are potential immune stimulants, anti-viral, or anti-parasite in the honey bee. Products in this candidate stream. The cooperator is a chemist who will focus on identifying and purifying possible treatments from plant resins and other natural sources. 2) A second stage will be to determine biological activity of potential candidates via in vitro laboratory testing. These screens will implement standard microbiology Kirby-Bauer and Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) assays to identify NP’s with antibacterial activity and to quantify minimum effective dosing of these against a bacterium of interest, Serratia (Burritt et al. 2016). In addition, two genetically distinct strains of Lotmaria currently maintained by the cooperator will be used in assays (CytoSMART system; www.lonza.com) that collect and analyze cell growth rate and morphology data during NP exposure to identify those with anti-trypanosomatid properties and to determine the minimum effective dose for each that inhibit biological activity of this protozoan parasite.