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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #248454

Title: Nosema ceranae, a newly identified pathogen of Apis mellifera in the U.S. and Asia

item Chen, Yanping - Judy
item HUANG, ZACHARY - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2010
Publication Date: 5/1/2010
Citation: Chen, Y., Huang, Z.Y. 2010. Nosema ceranae, a newly identified pathogen of Apis mellifera in the U.S. and Asia. Apidologie. 41:364-374.

Interpretive Summary: Nosema is a small parasite that causes serious disease of adult honey bees and was suggested by a study group to be associated with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). We provide evidence that a new species of Nosema is a predominant pathogen of honey bees in the U.S. and Asia. We also present the first full pathological, genetic, and genomic analysis of this pathogen. The information from this study can be used by other researchers and apiary inspectors to investigate honey bee colonies for disease infections and to develop effective strategies for disease control.

Technical Abstract: Nosemosis (Nosema disease) is one of the most serious and prevalent adult honey bee diseases worldwide. For years, Nosema apis was thought to be the only microsporidia infecting domestic bee colonies. However, recently it was discovered that N. ceranae could jump from Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) to European honey bees (Apis mellifera) that are widely used for crop pollination. The studies were conducted to investigate N. ceranae infection of A. mellifera in the U.S. and Asia. The data presented in the studies demonstrated that N. ceranae infection is widespread in the U.S., China and Australia and that infection with N. ceranae was more common than infection with N. apis in European honey bees. However, the N. ceranae in Australia may have a relatively recent introduction compared to other regions of the world. While comparative structural models of ribosomal RNAs indicate that ribosomal RNAs of N. ceranae and N. apis are well conserved, significant differences in morphology, tissue tropism, and phylogeny exist between species of N. ceranae and N. apis. The finding about the prevalence of N. ceranae in the U.S. and Asian bee populations in conjunction with findings in other parts of the world invites further research of the evolutionary history of N. ceranae infection in European honey bees.