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HomeAg NewsResearchers: Blue-Green Algae Can Protect Honey Bees

Researchers: Blue-Green Algae Can Protect Honey Bees

Scientists at USDA’s Agricultural Research developed an edible antiviral treatment that can be used to protect honey bees against Deformed Wing Virus and other viruses.

Honeybees are important agricultural pollinators. However, viruses, including DWV, are linked to the deaths of millions of colonies worldwide. These colony losses devastate beekeeping industries and pose a major risk to agriculture and the global food supply. While there are medicines for other bee diseases and parasites, there is currently no treatment available to help beekeepers reduce viruses in their colonies. Researchers found that engineered algae diets suppressed DWV infection and improved survival in honeybees.

When mixed into bee food, the engineered algae boost the bee’s immune system to fight off the targeted virus. The researchers filed a patent application for the technology and plan to use variations of it to target additional bee viruses and other pathogens in future studies.

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