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Thread: Symbionts

  1. #1
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    Default Symbionts

    > Research over the last 20 years has shown that a large fraction of insect species has intimate associations with symbiotic bacteria that often have major effects on their biology. Some symbionts are mutualists increasing their host's fitness, whereas in other cases the host obtains no benefit or even suffers from carrying the micro-organism.

    > Over the last few years a series of fascinating examples of how some insect endosymbionts provide benefits to their host have been discovered, and in many cases the benefits are realized only when the host faces an abiotic or biotic challenge. It is likely that we are still some way from fully understanding all of the complexities of the mutualistic interaction.

    > One of the best-studied endosymbiont interactions in the field involves a strain of Wolbachia attacking Drosophila simulans in California. [It has been] recently shown that over the 20 years that it has been studied, it has evolved to be less costly to its host.

    Heredity (2010) 104, 237–238

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Peter, thanks, this is interesting...but not as interesting as reading the whole article:
    http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v1...y2009144a.html

    On my first skim through, my main observation is that they are looking at single bacterial strains in relation to the host. Without a doubt, the relationships are much more complex than that, as there are doubtless multiple bacterial strains in relation with the host and with one another. ...think more like a classroom dynamic (where the students interact with one another and the teacher...the teacher interacts with each of the students indiviudally, in groups, and as a whole. The way these relationships are described in the article it is more like a teacher working with a single student.

    deknow

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    also see:
    Although the organism is a concerted cluster of adaptations, nearly all directed toward the same end, some conflict may remain. To understand such conflict, we extend Leigh’s metaphor of the parliament of genes to include parties with different interests and committees that work on particular tasks.
    THE SOCIAL ORGANISM: CONGRESSES, PARTIES, AND COMMITTEES
    Joan E. Strassmann and David C. Queller
    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    You might enjoy reading about these two reports:

    The Light-Organ Symbiosis of Vibrio fischeri and the Hawaiian squid, Euprymna scolopes
    http://web.uconn.edu/mcbstaff/graf/Sym.html

    The Nutritional Symbiosis of Buchnera and Aphids
    http://web.uconn.edu/mcbstaff/graf/BuAp/Baphidsym.htm
    Now you know how aphid get their amino acid

    Ernie
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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Bringing things back to bees (and away from simply quoting studies), I offer the following (which was part of a post I made in a different thread).

    http://beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?p=503589

    "i see the microbial culture of the hive (made up of at least 8000 species before dna tests were available...these were all microbes that were able to be cultured), like a rubber ball. the relationships between the varying species that live in varying niches within varying physical areas of the hive and of the bees are complex, and not simply one on one.

    if you are familliar with the term "complex adapative systems"...this is what we are talking about. the example we used in our book is the island of manhattan. there are a small number of bridges, tunnels, and ports where goods, people, and waste can enter and leave the island. to regulate this by actually running it (scheduling what had to come in and out when. balancing input and output, deciding minute by minute priorities of what was needed) would be a major headache...impossible. but it runs itself pretty well. if the summer gets hot, more soda finds its way onto the island and into the vending carts in central park. if traffic getting off the island for the weekend is too crazy, those with the highest priority of actually getting off the island on schedule will take alternate transportaion or leave early. it's endless, and it works.

    in any case, the microbial culture is akin to that. one population increases in response to a certain nectar, thousands respond towards (probably never reaching) equilibrim...some with their populations exploding, some dwindling....some even changing their tactics (going into defense mode, going into attack mode, going into a dormant mode). as homework, read:
    Carl Zimmer: E. coli and the new science of life
    ...once you realize the complexity of behavior of a single microbe is so amazing, and you consider a society of sorts comprising 10,000 or more species living in concert with the bees...feeding them, acting as their immune system, etc.....well, the best i can put is:

    be humble before the microbes!

    so, this "rubber ball" of interrelated microbes bounces. a nectar source chages, it's winter, the air is more moist, pollen source changes, drifting bees, hive invaders, robbed out stores, etc. some populations may disappear, some explode...but:

    over time, these in hive microbes (including most bee diseases) have been selected for and shown the ability to co-exist without wiping out their host population. this means they have a tendancy to not to take too much advantage of a situation and wipe out their host. if they do kill the host, they have a successful way to drift to other colonies, and somehow not wipe out the entire population. the most efficent way to do this is to exist in low levels...be ubiquitous but not harmful over time.

    i'm not a sports guy, but growing up, my uncle had seasons celtics tickets. most years my father and i would get a chance to go. i really hated sports, but the celtics of this era (larry bird, robert parrish, danny ange, kevin mchale, etc) didn't play like other sports teams...they played like a team all the time. never did someone showboat when they could pass to an open man. even in his fame, larry bird always played the team, and the team played the team. it was really fun to watch, and i'll never forget it. when players work for their own stats so they can be superstars and get more for their endorsements and egos it stops being poetry, and stops being beautiful (to me). this is how the microbes in the hive (which have intense antagonistic relationships with one another) function. as a team.

    it's not an artifical (or irrelevant) distinction between "man made substances causing disruptions" and "natural substances causing disruptions"....and to be clear, i put refined sugar, essential oils, and refined cane or beet sugar as "man made".

    the "man made" hive inputs are a problem. the hundreds of millions of years of evolution, selection, and refining of these microbial populations (which doubtlessly are preserved and transmitted from hive to hive in several ways) never encountered anything like table sugar, essential oils, or organic acids. essential oils are (essentially) pesticides produced by the plant. the bees and the microbes would never encounter these things in anything close to this concentration. since bees communicate by scent, the strong scents of essential oils and organic acids have to effect things...and i can't believe that the result "just happens to be positive in all respects".

    it's like putting a rubber ball in a canon, the properties that led one to buy a ball for the playground are different than the ones needed to withstand gunpowder.

    imho, mother nature has done a good job of selecting the right rubber ball for the job. i don't know if we can expect it to perform if we expose it to substances (and concentrations of substances) it was not "designed" for."

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Are you sorry you started this yet, Peter?

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Probiotics.

    Some beekeepers are adding probiotics to the feeding constituent of bees to improve their health.
    Ernie
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    Re: Symbionts

    Her's some additional information:
    M. Kačániová1 , R. Chlebo2, M. Kopernický2 and A. Trakovická3

    (1) Department of Microbiology, Slovak Agricultural University, Nitra, Slovakia
    (2) Department of Poultry Science and Small Animal Husbandry, Slovak Agricultural University, Nitra, Slovakia
    (3) Department of Genetics and Breeding Biology, Slovak Agricultural University, Nitra, Slovakia

    Received: 20 October 2003 Revised: 18 December 2003

    Abstract Microorganisms in the midgut and rectum of the honeybee were enumerated and characterized. Counts of aerobic microorganisms were distinctly lower than counts of anaerobes (105–106 viable cells per g of intestinal contentvs. 108–109 per g). Total numbers of anaerobic microorganisms were almost identical with the count of anaerobic Gram-positive acid resistant rods. A higher number of coliform bacteria andBacillus spp. was detected in the rectum (105 per g). Anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms, coliforms, enterococci,Bacillus spp.,Pseudomonas spp. and yeasts were found in all bees; lactobacilli, staphylococci and moulds were not found.
    This work was supported by project no. 20-006102 of theAgency for Support of Science and Techniques (Slovakia).

    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    > Some beekeepers are adding probiotics to the feeding constituent of bees to improve their health.

    I've heard that, too. It seems like a good idea -- perhaps, but wonder: What specific organisms? And how is it known that this is beneficial?

    After all, without any evidence, the practice could as easily be harmful, or useless.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Allen asks:

    Are you sorry you started this yet, Peter?
    dean writes:

    the "man made" hive inputs are a problem. the hundreds of millions of years of evolution, selection, and refining of these microbial populations (which doubtlessly are preserved and transmitted from hive to hive in several ways) never encountered anything like table sugar, essential oils, or organic acids.
    Actually, what got me reinterested in this was WLC's level headed approach to the question of inoculation, and maternal imprinting (pay it forward). The problem with Dean's way is that he always ready to leap forward to his a priori assumption that "manmade=bad".

    That sort of approach in inimical to scientific understanding. To say that bees never encountered "anything like table sugar, essential oils, or organic acids" is patently absurd. They encounter toxic sugars, plant oils and organic acids ALL THE TIME in nature.

    Further, to make any statements about what has been going on for "hundreds of millions of years" is ridiculous. How do you know what has been going on for hundreds of millions of years?

    Dean, if you want to discuss this in a level headed way, I would like that.
    Last edited by Ravenseye; 02-24-2010 at 06:30 AM. Reason: Unnecessary remarks

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Yes, this could be a good topic. There are certainly many unknowns and recent discoveries which shed new light on old problems.

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    Default Re: Symbionts


    If you continue the passage of my post you quoted, you find:

    essential oils are (essentially) pesticides produced by the plant. the bees and the microbes would never encounter these things in anything close to this concentration.
    it's all about concentration.

    doubtless there are some small amounts of essential oils in plant nectar, and even in bruised fruit, honeydew, and sweet sap that the bees might forage on sometimes. but where do the bees encounter anything close to essential oil concentration? to 65% organic acid concentration? to near 100% pure sucrose?

    i can't think of a harmless or essential substance that isn't lethal in high concentrations...from water to oxygen.

    the problem with "man made" inputs isn't that they are man made, it is that they are in very high concentrations...so high that it is rare (if ever) that such concentrations are achieved in nature.....and never in the beehive.

    deknow
    Last edited by Ravenseye; 02-24-2010 at 06:32 AM. Reason: Unnecessary remarks

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    http://antbase.org/ants/publications/10543/10543.pdf

    a recent paper on the fungus growing ants.

    deknow

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200809/termites/2

    One morning when I met Hugenholtz and Warnecke at a coffee shop, they began to riff on how the gut might work. “You get the feeling the microorganisms are more dominant than the termite. They must have a way to control the insect,” Warnecke said. Hugenholtz interrupted, quoting a colleague: “Maybe the termite is just a fancy delivery system for the creatures in the gut.” We tend to assume that the larger organism in a symbiotic relationship is in charge, but relationships like the one between the termite and the microbes involve constant two-way chemical communications. Even human beings, Hugenholtz said, are subconsciously eavesdropping on chemical conversations between the inhabitants of our guts; this leads us to crave, say, potato chips when our microbes want salt. His eyes fell warily on his coffee. “Do you think our stomach bacteria have trained us?”

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Dick View Post
    After all, without any evidence, the practice [of feeding probiotics] could as easily be harmful, or useless.
    imho, probiotics are the opposite side of the coin as antibiotics...both seek to micromanage the microbial culture (either by "addition" or "subtraction").

    in speaking to our county club last year, jeff pettis reported that in caged bee studies, the feeding of probiotics (he didn't specify what) showed noticeable positive effect. when, however, the same probiotics were tried with free flying colonies, there was no noticeable advantage.

    deknow

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Peter says, "Actually, what got me reinterested in this was WLC's level headed approach to the question of inoculation, and maternal imprinting (pay it forward)."

    What got me started was the whole natural cell thread and in particular how some posts indicated that the source of the queen wasn't critical.

    I then found a paper describing how enterobacteria from the bee's gut had antibiotic properties against AFB, and I also made a connection with management practices (which after all, could increase survival).

    What I haven't figured out yet is how to 'slip a mickey' to the no-treatment study so that some combination of categories could indicate that a symbiont, rather than management, is involved with hive health and productivity.

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1471774

    I had posted the above link in the natural cell thread.

    It's interesting in many ways. It also has some embedded links that make it fun to move around.

    What if...

    beekeepers could take DNA barcodes of their hives?

    This particular study used 16s RNA primers for bacteria.

    Other DNA barcode methods that are more general use Cytochrome C Oxidase if my memory serves me.

    Cytochrome c oxidase primers would barcode the presence of other organisms besides bacteria, like fungi, creepey crawlies, etc. .

    That would be something, beekeepers figuring out what is going on in their hive (both good and bad) by DNA technology.

    Of course, they would need some special equipment and reagents, but the technology has advanced quite a bit in the last decade.

    I wonder what the cost per 'hive barcode' would be?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    What I haven't figured out yet is how to 'slip a mickey' to the no-treatment study so that some combination of categories could indicate that a symbiont, rather than management, is involved with hive health and productivity.
    Walt, are you talking about a mickey for the beek, or the bees??
    Now, if you have an idea, and a possibility, let me know, but I sure don't know how we'd do it.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Beeks don't need a mickey from me!

    'The Mickey" is really just a matter of the null hypothesis.

    For instance, if it turned out that there was no significance or correlation for management methods, and the health and productivity of untreated hives (in my survey proposal)...

    that's a stunner.

    I wonder what it would take to do something similar for symbionts and no-treatment hives using a survey. What should we ask?
    Last edited by WLC; 02-23-2010 at 09:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Symbionts

    Are treatments themselves not in a sense each a mask?
    Last edited by Ravenseye; 02-24-2010 at 06:35 AM. Reason: Unnecesssary remarks

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