Enzymes influence bee sensitivity to neonicotinoids
A new study finds that enzymes in honey bees and bumble bees determine how sensitive they are to different neonicotinoid insecticides.
The joint study by Exeter University, Rothamsted Research and Bayer found that certain neonicotinoids are more toxic to bees than others.
As in other organisms, toxins in bees can be broken down by enzymes called cytochrome P450s. The researchers carried out the most comprehensive analysis of bee P450 detoxification enzymes ever conducted. The study identified one subfamily of these enzymes in bees - CYP9Q - and found it was responsible for the rapid breakdown of certain neonicotinoids, such as thiacloprid, making them virtually non-toxic to bees. Bayer is confident that this knowledge will enable the company to design further bee-friendly insecticides in an even more targeted way, using relatively simple methods (in vitro) at an early stage of a product’s development.
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