Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345833

Research Project: Cryopreservation of Bee Germplasm Research

Location: Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research

Title: Toxicity assessment of glyphosate on honey bee (Apis mellifera) spermatozoa

item HOOPMAN, ALEXIS - North Dakota State University
item NORTH, HEATHER - North Dakota State University
item Rajamohan, Arun
item BOWSHER, JULIA - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2017
Publication Date: 1/3/2018
Citation: Hoopman, A., North, H., Rajamohan, A., Bowsher, J. 2018. Toxicity assessment of glyphosate on honey bee (Apis mellifera) spermatozoa [abstract]. The Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology (SCIB) Annual Meeting 2018. January 3-7, 2018. San Francisco, CA. P2-21.

Interpretive Summary: .

Technical Abstract: During 2016-2017, 33.2% of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. were lost due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Commonly used pesticides are among the suspected reasons for bee mortality. N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine (glyphosate) is a widely used herbicide in the U.S. and has previously been shown to have behavioral effects on worker honey bees. However, effects of pesticides on honey bee reproductive physiology is understudied, especially with respect to the drone (male) bee. The queen bee receives semen from multiple drones during a once in a life time mating flight event. The spermatozoa is stored in the spermatheca and utilized for 2-7 years. Even small amounts of pesticide tainted spermatozoa has the potential to affect the queen’s fertility for the duration of her life. The purpose of this study was to assess toxicity of glyphosate to honey bee spermatozoa by determining the lethal dose (LD50) and lethal time (LT50). Previous studies elsewhere report that the nectar in a plant sprayed with glyphosate can contain between 0.002-0.0032 mg/ml of the herbicide. Sperm samples were collected from drones returning from the mating flight and treated with glyphosate dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide to determine the lethal dose and time (LD50 and LT50), respectively. After exposure, sperm samples were subjected to motility and live/dead assays. Preliminary results of this study support the hypothesis that glyphosate negatively affects honey bee spermatozoa. At 40 minutes of exposure time, the LD50 concentration was found to be 0.31mg/mL (p<0.0001). At 0.05mg/mL concentration of glyphosate in the semen, the LT50 was found to be 468 minutes (p=0.009).