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Honeybee biomarkers as promising tools to monitor environmental quality

Badiou-Bénéteau A., Benneveau A., Géret F., Delatte H., Becker N., Brunet J.L., Reynaud B., Belzunces L.. 2013. Environment International, 60 : p. 31-41.

The aim of this study was to distinguish the impacts of two different anthropogenic conditions using the honeybee Apis mellifera as a bioindicator associatedwith a battery of biomarkers previously validated in the laboratory. Both the urban (RAV, Ravine des Cabris) and semi-natural (CIL, Cilaos) sites in La Reunion Islandwere compared in order to assess the impacts of two types of local pollution using the discriminating potential of biomarkers. Hives were placed at the CIL and RAV sites and honeybees were collected from each hive every three months over one year. Honeybee responses were evaluated with respect to several biochemical biomarkers: glutathione-S-transferase (GST), acetylcholinesterase (AChE), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and metallothioneins (MT). The results showed a significant difference between the localities in terms of GST, AChE and ALP activities, as regarding midgut MT tissue levels. Compared to the CIL site, ALP and MT tissue levels were higher at the RAV site, although AChE activity was lower. GST displayed more contrasted effects. These results strongly suggest that the honeybees based in the more anthropized area were subjected to sublethal stress involving both oxidative stress and detoxification processes with the occurrence of neurotoxic pollutants, amongst which metals were good candidates. A classification tree enabled defining a decision procedure to distinguish the sampling locations and enabled excellent classification accuracy (89%) for the data set. This field study constitutes a strong support in favour of the in situ assessment of environmental quality using honeybee biomarkers and validates the possibility of performing further ecotoxicological studies using honeybee biomarkers. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : environnement; qualité; impact sur l'environnement; indicateur biologique; apis mellifera; réunion; apis mellifera unicolor

Thématique : Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Ecologie animale; Méthodes de relevé

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