Effects of realistic doses of atrazine, metolachlor, and glyphosate on lipid peroxidation and diet-derived antioxidants in caged honey bees (Apis mellifera)
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- Helmer, S.H., Kerbaol, A., Aras, P. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2015) 22: 8010. doi:10.1007/s11356-014-2879-7
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The decline in the population of pollinators is a worrying phenomenon worldwide. In North America, the extensive use of herbicides in maize and soya crops may affect the health of nontarget organisms like the honey bee. In this study, caged honey bees were exposed to realistic doses of atrazine, metolachlor, and glyphosate for 10 days via contaminated syrup. Peroxidation of lipids was evaluated using the thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) test, and diet-derived antioxidants—carotenoids, all-trans-retinol (at-ROH) and α-tocopherol—were detected and quantified using reversed-phase HPLC techniques. Significant increases in syrup consumption were observed in honey bees exposed to metolachlor, and a lower TBARS value was recorded for the highest dose. No relationship was observed between the peroxidation of lipids and the levels of antioxidants. However, β-carotene, which was found to be the most abundant carotenoid, and at-ROH (derived from β-carotene) both decreased with increasing doses of atrazine and glyphosate. In contrast, metolachlor increased levels of at-ROH without any effects on β-carotene. These results show that the honey bee carotenoid–retinoid system may be altered by sublethal field-realistic doses of herbicides.