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Blue Green Algae to Benefit Honey Bees

Kristol K Stenstrom | Published on 3/22/2024
Managed bees are important agricultural pollinators threatened by declines linked to multi-host RNA viruses. Here, we developed a novel antiviral platform for bees using the edible photosynthetic cyanobacteriumSynechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973. Cyanobacterial biomass was engineered to induce RNA interference (RNAi) immune responses when fed to bees. Treatments targeting deformed wing virus—a notorious pathogen—suppressed viral infection and improved survival in honey bees. This design presents a versatile and sustainable therapeutic that can be directly incorporated into supplemental feeds for managed pollinators to mitigate viruses and support global food security.