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Components of honeybee royal jelly as deterrents of the parasitic Varroa mite, Varroa destructor



Components of honeybee royal jelly as deterrents of the parasitic Varroa mite, Varroa destructor



Journal of chemical ecology 31(8): 1747-1764



The parasitic mite Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman reproduces on the immature stage of the honeybee, Apis mellifera L. Mites are found more often on drone brood than worker brood and only infrequently on queen brood. We investigated the chemical basis for the low incidence of mites on queen brood. V. destructor mites were deterred by a crude extract of royal jelly, a glandular secretion produced by nurse bees and fed to queen larvae. Bioassay-driven fractionation of the crude extract via column chromatography resulted in one active fraction that was as active as the crude extract. Compounds in the active fraction were identified using gas chromatography (GC) and coupled gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Before injection, compounds were esterified with MeOH/sulfuric acid, followed by silylation of any hydroxyl groups present. The active fraction contained at least 22 compounds, all fatty acids, several of which contained an additional hydroxyl group on the alkyl chain. Synthesis of some of these compounds that are not commercially available is described. A synthetic mixture containing most of the compounds in the active fraction was as active as the active fraction in the bioassay.

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Accession: 004084525

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16222806

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-005-5925-6


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