Free access
Volume 36, Number 3, July-September 2005
Page(s) 421 - 430
Published online 07 July 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 421-430
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005031

Soybean proteinase inhibitor and the foraging strategy of free flying honeybees

François-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmonta, Hichem Azzouzb, Odile Ponsc and Minh-Hà Pham-Delègued

a  Centre for Behavioural Biology, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK
b  Laboratoire de Biologie Animale, Biologie des Entomophages, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Faculté des Sciences, 33 rue Saint Leu, 80039 Amiens Cedex 1, France
c  Unité de Biométrie, INRA Centre de Recherche de Jouy-en-Josas, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, France
d  CNRS, Relations Internationales, 3 rue Michel Ange, 75794 Paris 16, France

(Received 3 August 2004 - revised 5 December 2005 - accepted 5 January 2005; Published online: 7 July 2005)

Abstract - Previous laboratory studies reported disruption of the digestive physiology and learning behaviour in individual honeybees treated with Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI), a serine proteinase inhibitor expressed in some GM plants. Our objective was to detect behavioural effects of this transgene on honeybees at the colony level, maintained in laboratory conditions. We set up a choice experiment, based on 150 free-flying individuals which performed a over 7700 visits on the flowers. The mean number of visits per hour, the mean time spent on the feeder and the interval between consecutive visits were not significantly different when the feeding sucrose solution was mixed with BBI at 100 µg·mL-1, a dose close to the expression level in planta. The methodology proposed herein could form a colony scale procedure particularly relevant to the risk assessment of the impact on bees of proteinase inhibitors or other transgenes to be possibly expressed in melliferous plants.

Key words: Apis mellifera / foraging behaviour / behavioural choice / proteinase inhibitor / risk-assessment / Cox model

Corresponding author: François-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005