Free Access
Volume 35, Number 5, September-October 2004
Page(s) 453 - 460
Apidologie 35 (2004) 453-460
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004037

Cell death in honeybee (Apis mellifera) larvae treated with oxalic or formic acid

Ales Gregorca, Azra Pogacnika and Ivor D. Bowenb

a  Veterinary Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, Gerbiceva 60, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
b  Cardiff School of Biosciences, Preclinical Building, Cardiff University, PO Box 911, Cardiff, CF10 3US, UK

(Received 3 June; revised 28 November 2003; accepted 16 December 2003)

Abstract - The effects of oxalic (OA) and formic acids (FA) on honeybee larvae in colonies were assessed and evaluated. Cell death was detected by the TUNEL technique for DNA labelling. In 3- and 5-day-old larvae exposed to OA, cell death was found in 25% of midgut epithelial cells 5 h after the treatment, using an "In situ cell death detection kit, AP" (Roche). The level of cell death increased to 70% by the 21st hour and the morphology of the epithelium remained unchanged. Fifty hours after the application, cell death was established in 18% of the epithelial cells of the 3-day-old larvae and had increased to 82% in the 5-day-old larvae. A "DeadEnd" apoptosis detection kit (Promega) showed sporadic cell death mainly in the larval fat body 5 h after treatment. Twenty-one hours after the OA application cell death was found in 4% of the larval midgut epithelial cells. Evaporated formic acid induced extensive apoptotic cell death in the peripheral, cuticular and subcuticular tissues that preceded the cell death of the entire larval body.

Key words: Apis mellifera / cell death / oxalic acid / formic acid / immunochemical method

Corresponding author: Ales Gregorc

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2004