Insecticide exposure affects DNA and antioxidant enzymes activity in honey bee species Apis florea and A. dorsata: Evidence from Punjab, Pakistan.
Sci Total Environ. 2018 Apr 23 ;635:1292-1301. Epub 2018 Apr 23. PMID: 29710582
Insecticide exposure can affect honey bees in agro-ecosystems, posing behavioral stresses that can lead to population decline. In this study, insecticide incidence, DNA damage, and antioxidant enzyme activity were studied in Apis florea and A. dorsata honey bee samples collected from insecticide-treated and insecticide-free areas of Punjab, Pakistan. Seven insecticides: chlorpyrifos, dimethoate, imidacloprid, phorate, emamectin, chlorfenapyr, and acetamiprid were detected in seven samples of A. florea and five samples of A. dorsata. In total, 12 samples (22.2%) of honey bees were found positive to insecticide presence out of 54 samples. The most frequently detected insecticide was chlorpyrifos, which was found in four samples (7.4%), with a concentration ranging from 0.01 to 0.05 μg/g and an average concentration 0.03 μg/g. The comet assay or single cell gel electrophoresis assay, a simple way to measure DNA strand breaks in eukaryotic cells, was used to microscopically find damage of DNA at the level of a single cell. Comet tail lengths of DNA in A. florea and A. dorsata samples from insecticide-treated areas were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than samples from insecticide-free areas. The highest comet tail length (19.28 ± 2.67 μm) was observed in DNA of A. dorsata from insecticide-treated areas, while the minimum one (3.18 ± 1.46 μm) was noted in A. dorsata from insecticide-free areas. Catalase (CAT) activity didnot vary significantly between honey bee samples from insecticide-treated and insecticide-free areas, while glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity showed a significant reduction in response to insecticide exposure. Significant positive correlations were detected between enzyme activity and insecticide concentration in honey bee species from insecticide-treated areas compared with control groups. Toxicity from pesticide exposure at sub-lethal levels after application or from exposure to pesticide residues should not be underestimated in honey bees, as it may induce physiological impairment that can decline honey bees' health.