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Abstract

Lactobacillus johnsonii CRL1647, isolated from the intestinal tract of a worker-bee in Salta, Argentina, was delivered to Apis mellifera L. honey bee colonies according to two different administration schedules: 1×10(5) cfu/ml every 15 days (2011) or monthly (2012). The effect of each treatment on the bee-colony performance was monitored by measuring honey production, and the prevalence of varroasis and nosemosis. Worker bees from each assay were randomly captured 3 days after administration and assayed for the following intestinal culturable and defined bacterial populations: total aerobic microorganisms, Bacillus spp. spores, Lactobacillus spp., Enterococcus spp. and enterobacteria. Interestingly, both treatments generated a similar increase in honey production in treated colonies compared to controls: 36.8% (every 15 days) and 36.3% (monthly). Nosema index always exhibited a reduction when lactobacilli were administered; in turn, Varroa incidence was lower when the lactobacilli were administered once a month. Moreover, the administration of L. johnsonii CRL1647 every 15 days produced an increase in the total number of aerobic microorganisms and in bacteria belonging to the genera Lactobacillus and Enterococcus; at the same time, a decrease was observed in the number of total spores at the end of the treatment. The number of enterobacteria was constant and remained below that of control hives at the end of the assay. On the other hand, the delivery of lactobacilli once a month only showed an increase in the number of bacteria belonging to the genus Lactobacillus; meanwhile, viable counts of the remaining microorganisms assayed were reduced. Even though it seems that both treatments were similar, those bee colonies that received L. johnsonii CRL1647 every 15 days became so strong that they swarmed.

Keywords: Lactobacillus johnsonii; apiculture; culturable microorganisms; honeybee; probiotic.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Enhanced Honey ProductionBeneficial
Large
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Increased Aerobic Microorganism Count Over 15 DaysNeutral
Small
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Increased Enterococcus PopulationsNeutral
Small
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Increased Lactobacilli PopulationsBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Reduced Bacillus spp. Spore CountBeneficial
Small
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Reduced Enterobacteria LevelsNeutral
Small
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Reduced Nosema IncidenceBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Reduced Swarming BehaviorNeutral
Small
Lactobacillus johnsonii LJ09Reduced Varroa Mite IncidenceBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Enhanced Honey ProductionBeneficial
Large
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Increased Aerobic Microorganism Count Over 15 DaysNeutral
Small
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Increased Frequency of Bee Colony Swarming EventsNeutral
Large
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Increased Lactobacillus PopulationBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Reduced Bacillus spp. Spore CountBeneficial
Small
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Reduced Nosema IndexBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Reduced Varroa IncidenceBeneficial
Moderate
Lactobacillus johnsonii VPro 33Reduced Viable Counts of Non-Lactobacillus MicroorganismsNeutral
Small

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