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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357366

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Extracts of polypore mushroom mycelia reduce viruses in honey bees

item STAMETS, PAUL - Fungi Perfecti
item NAEGER, NICHOLAS - Washington State University
item Evans, Jay
item HAN, JENNIFER - Washington State University
item HOPKINS, BRANDON - Washington State University
item Lopez, Dawn
item MOERSHEL, HENRY - Fungi Perfecti
item NALLY, REGAN - Fungi Perfecti
item SUMERLIN, DAVID - Fungi Perfecti
item SHEPPARD, WALTER - Fungi Perfecti

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/4/2018
Publication Date: 10/4/2018
Citation: Stamets, P.E., Naeger, N., Evans, J.D., Han, J., Hopkins, B., Lopez, D.L., Moershel, H., Nally, R., Sumerlin, D., Sheppard, W.S. 2018. Extracts of polypore mushroom mycelia reduce viruses in honey bees. Scientific Reports. 8(1):13936.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are strongly impacted by disease. One approach for managing honey bee disease is to identify known compounds and extracts that lower disease levels in humans and other hosts, and then introduce those compounds to diseased honey bees. This study documents promising reductions in virus levels following controlled exposure of bees to extracts from fungi known to have medicinal properties. The hope is that such extracts can be used to reduce honey bee disease loads, stabilizing honey bee populations for their pollination services and abilities to produce honey and other hive products.

Technical Abstract: Waves of highly infectious viruses sweeping through global honey bee populations have contributed to recent declines in honey bee health. Bees have been observed foraging on mushroom mycelium, suggesting that they may be deriving medicinal or nutritional value from fungi. Fungi are known to produce a wide array of chemicals with antimicrobial activity, including compounds active against bacteria, other fungi, or viruses. We tested extracts from the mycelium of multiple polypore fungal species known to have antiviral properties. Extracts from amadou (Fomes) and reishi (Ganoderma) fungi reduced the levels of honey bee Deformed wing virus (DWV) and Lake sinai virus (LSV) in a dose-dependent manner. In field trials, colonies fed Ganoderma resinaceum extract exhibited a 79-fold reduction in DWV and a 45,000-fold reduction in LSV compared to control colonies. These findings indicate honey bees may gain health benefits from fungi and their antimicrobial compounds.