Mixtures of herbicides and metals can affect the redox system of honey bees. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Mixtures of herbicides and metals affect the redox system of honey bees.
Chemosphere. 2017 Feb ;168:163-170. Epub 2016 Oct 22. PMID: 27780120
The increasing loss of bee colonies in many countries has prompted a surge of studies on the factors affecting bee health. In North America, main crops such as maize and soybean are cultivated with extensive use of pesticides that may affect non-target organisms such as bees. Also, biosolids, used as a soil amendment, represent additional sources of metals in agroecosystems; however, there is no information about how these metals could affect the bees. In previous studies we investigated the effects of environmentally relevant doses of herbicides and metals, each individually, on caged honey bees. The present study aimed at investigating the effects of mixtures of herbicides (glyphosate and atrazine) and metals (cadmium and iron), as these mixtures represent more realistic exposure conditions. Levels of metal, vitamin E, carotenoids, retinaldehyde, at-retinol, retinoic acid isomers (9-cis RA, 13-cis RA, at-RA) and the metabolites 13-cis-4-oxo-RA and at-4-oxo-RA were measured in bees fed for 10 days with contaminated syrup. Mixtures of herbicides and cadmium that did not affect bee viability, lowered beeα- and β-carotenoid contents and increased 9-cis-RA as well as 13-cis-4-oxo-RA without modifying the levels of at-retinol. Bee treatment with either glyphosate, a combination of atrazine and cadmium, or mixtures of herbicides promoted lipid peroxidation. Iron was bioconcentrated in bees and led tohigh levels of lipid peroxidation. Metals also decreased zeaxanthin bee contents. These results show that mixtures of atrazine, glyphosate, cadmium and iron may affect different reactions occurring in the metabolic pathway of vitamin A in the honey bee.