Free Access
Volume 35, Number 6, November-December 2004
Page(s) 655 - 664
Apidologie 35 (2004) 655-664
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004063

Development of hypopharyngeal glands in adult honey bees fed with a Bt toxin, a biotin-binding protein and a protease inhibitor

Louise A. Malonea, Jacqui H. Todda, Elisabeth P.J. Burgessa and John T. Christellerb

a  Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited, Mt Albert Research Centre, Private Bag 92169, Auckland, New Zealand
b  Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited, Palmerston North Research Centre, Private Bag 11030, Palmerston North, New Zealand

(Received 21 November 2003; revised 21 April 2004; accepted 27 April 2004)

Abstract - To investigate potential impacts of insecticidal transgene products on hypopharyngeal gland development, newly-emerged adult honey bees were kept in cages and fed for ten days with a pollen-food to which one of the following proteins had been added at concentrations equivalent to pollen expressing 1.25% (of total protein) aprotinin, 11.2 $\mu$M avidin or 0.3% Cry1Ba protein. Control bees were fed pollen-food without additive, with casein added, or pollen-candy. None of the treatments significantly affected bee survival, or the mean diameters of gland acini, gland mass or protein content on Days 1, 4, 8 or 10. Bees consumed significantly more of the pollen-candy than the other foods. Assays showed no evidence of aprotinin, avidin or Cry1Ba in the glands of bees fed with these proteins. Thus effects of these transgene products on gland development are unlikely, but field trials using transgenic plants are required for a full assessment.

Key words: Apis mellifera / hypopharyngeal gland / insecticidal transgenic plant protein / laboratory assay

Corresponding author: Louise A. Malone

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2004