Recent study1 shows that both probiotic strains Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. boulardii CNCM I-1079 and Pediococcus acidilactici CNCM MA 18/5M are effective to protect honey bees against a fungal infection named nosemosis. This infection is associated with colony collapse disorder and its prevalence is rapidly increasing.
Nosemosis is currently treated with antibiotics. However, their efficacy is declining as resistant strains of the fungus have emerged. In this original trial conducted by University of Laval in Canada in partnership with Lallemand Animal Nutrition, both probiotics significantly increased honeybees survival when used both as preventive or curative approaches, reducing the need for antibiotics:
Bees’ survival is significantly increased by 28.8 % with P. acidilactici CNCM MA 18/5M and by 29.9% with S. boulardii CNCM I-1079 when the probiotics were fed to the bees mixed in sugar syrup as a preventive approach for two weeks.
Pediococcus acidilactici CNCM MA 18/5M increased bees’ survival by 23% and S. boulardii CNCM I-1079 by 41% when fed as a curative approach following nosemosis challenge.
The authors hypothesized that mechanism of action could involve an improved immune system and tissue repair processes to protect the host from damage caused by the parasite.
Our team is also pursuing other studies in honey bees in France and we hope to develop sustainable solutions to protect these highly precious workers!
El Khoury S. et al. (2018) Deleterious Interaction Between Honeybees (Apis mellifera) and its Microsporidian Intracellular Parasite Nosema ceranae Was Mitigated by Administrating Either Endogenous or Allochthonous Gut Microbiota Strains Front. Ecol. Evol., 23 May 2018 (https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2018.00058)