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Improved mitochondrial function corrects immunodeficiency and impaired respiration in neonicotinoid exposed bumblebees

Powner, M. B. ORCID: 0000-0003-4913-1004, Priestley, G., Hogg, C. and Jeffery, G. (2021). Improved mitochondrial function corrects immunodeficiency and impaired respiration in neonicotinoid exposed bumblebees. PLoS One, 16(8), e0256581. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256581


Neonicotinoid pesticides undermine pollinating insects including bumblebees. However, we have previously shown that mitochondrial damage induced by neonicotinoids can be corrected by 670nm light exposure. But we do not know if this protection extends to immunity or what the minimum effective level of 670nm light exposure is necessary for protection. We use whole body bee respiration in vivo as a metric of neonicotinoid damage and assess the amount of light exposure needed to correct it. We reveal that only 1 min of 670nm exposure is sufficient to correct respiratory deficits induced by pesticide and that this also completely repairs damaged immunocompetence measured by haemocyte counts and the antibacterial action of hemolymph. Further, this single 1 min exposure remains effective for 3–6 days. Longer exposures were not more effective. Such data are key for development of protective light strategies that can be delivered by relatively small economic devices placed in hives.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 Powner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Optometry & Visual Science
Date available in CRO: 07 Sep 2021 14:45
Date deposited: 7 September 2021
Date of acceptance: 10 August 2021
Date of first online publication: 26 August 2021
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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