Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372288

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Protective potential of Chinese herbal extracts against microsporidian nosema ceranae, an emergent pathogen of western honey bees, apis mellifera L

item CHEN, XIUXIAN - Zhejiang University
item WANG, SHUAI - Zhejiang University
item XU, YINGYING - Zhejiang University
item GONG, HONGRI - Zhejiang University
item WU, YUQI - Zhejiang University
item Chen, Yanping - Judy
item HU, FULIANG - Zhejiang University
item ZHENG, HUOQING - Zhejiang University

Submitted to: Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/16/2019
Publication Date: 8/17/2019
Citation: Chen, X., Wang, S., Xu, Y., Gong, H., Wu, Y., Chen, Y., Hu, F., Zheng, H. 2019. Protective potential of Chinese herbal extracts against microsporidian nosema ceranae, an emergent pathogen of western honey bees, apis mellifera L. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology.

Interpretive Summary: Nosema disease is one of the most common and widespread adult honey bee diseases, and is caused by the intracellular parasite Nosema. Fumagilin is the only currently registered chemical treatment for controlling Nosema disease and is no longer commercially available. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new and alternative medicines that can prevent and treat Nosema disease in honey bees. As a result, we conducted a study to evaluate the effect of eight herbal extracts against Nosema infection in honey bees under laboratory conditions. Our results showed that Andrographis paniculata, a plant used traditionally as a remedy for the treatment of various diseases in Asia, could efficiently inhibit Nosema spore proliferation and improve the infected bees' survival rates. This study clearly indicates that medicinal plants hold great potential in the future for honey bee disease prevention and treatment. The information gained from this study should be of interest to the researchers, graduate students, beekeepers and policymakers worldwide.

Technical Abstract: Nosema ceranae, a newly emergent parasite invading western honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), is indicated to threaten honey bee health at both individual and colony levels. However, the efficient and environmentally-friendly treatments are quite limited at present. To find alternative medicine to control Nosema diseases, the effect of 8 types of herbal extracts against N. ceranae infection were screened under laboratory condition. Andrographis paniculata (A. paniculata) decoction, at 1% concentration, can significantly decreased N. ceranae spore numbers on 7 days post infection (dpi)and 13 dpi. Furthermore, our results revealed that A. paniculata decoction at doses ranging from 1% to 7% displayed significantly efficient and dose-dependent manners to inhibit Nosema spore proliferation and improve the infected bees’ survival rates. At morphological level, A. paniculata decoction was found to repair the degenerated gut tissues of infected workers. In the meanwhile, our results also showed that A. paniculata decoction can promoted the expression of certain genes in Wnt and JNK pathways. Additionally, this study suggested that A. paniculata decoction performed significant Nosema spore-reducing potentials over its monomers of andrographolide and dehydrographolide. This work enables us to better understand A. paniculata decoction’s potential to inhibit N. ceranae infection, thus providing a new guidance for developing applicable drugs to control Nosema diseases.