Beekeeping in Spain is an arising livestock activity influenced by intensive farming, that produces not only food and other products for human consumption but also important pollinating services. Although Spain is the European country with the highest number of colonies, the productivity is low compared to other EU countries.

The aim of this project is to search for factors to improve beekeeping by gathering information on nutrition, health and genetic status for an integrate management. This will provide beekeepers with sanitary, nutritional and breeding management tools to increase the production, to reduce colony losses and to preserve the native honey bee.

In order to obtain this information, Sub-project 1 will studet alonies located on wild and cultivated areas. Pollen nutritive value (protein content, amino acids and polyphenolic compounds) will be collected from total pollen sample and from main taxa subsamples. The nutritive value of socioeconomic important crops (brassicaceae, asteraceae and leguminosae) will be also evaluated, including the attraction of honey bees for foraging on wild and cultivated plants belonging to the same botanic family. Health parameters of those colonies settled in wild and cultivated areas will be also evaluated and correlated to honey production levels. Moreover, since bee diseases have a direct impact in the colony production, some epidemiological factors on Nosema ceranae, one of the most prevalent pathogens in Spain, will be also investigated, for example by determining the effect of the infection on drone reproduction or the interaction with pesticides.

The genetic variability of the colonies used in Subproject 1 will be analyzed through new genomic tools by Subproject 2. This infomation will provide knowledge for genetic stock identification and estimation of diversity levels which can assist management strategies and monitor honey bee conservation programs. Furthermore, the information gathered from the analysis of differential expression of genes related to Nosema resistance, immune system and thermal stress tolerance in Spanish native bees will be used as valuable tools for monitoring the susceptibility of honey bees to various environmental impacts such climate change and different nutrient composition of the pollen.

Finally, Subproject 3 will study the nutraceutical properties of plant compounds such as betaines and glucosinolates that could have an effect on pathogens and foraging activity. A new methodology will be develop to specifically determine betaines. These results will be linked to the nutritive values and results on bee health on Subproject 1.

Research team

Principal Investigator

Dr. Pilar De la Rúa

Scientific staff

Dr. José Serrano Marino

Dr. Irene Muñoz

MSc Vicente Martínez López

Micaela Sánchez Aroca

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  • Última modificación: 2018/07/23 13:33
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