Infections with American foulbrood can destroy entire bee populations. A team of German and Dutch researchers has now isolated metabolic products of the pathogen that causes it, Paenibacillus larvae. The structures of the products have been identified, providing insights into the unusual biosynthetic pathways by which they are made. These new findings could help to clarify the mechanisms of infection and thus to find points of attack for effectively combating bee disease. As the researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, these paenilamicins have antibiotic effects that may also be of use in human medicine.
The honey bee is one of the most important pollinators in our agricultural and subnatural ecosystems. Our supply with fruit, nuts, and vegetables depends significantly on the fact that enough honey bees fly to the flowers of these plants. In recent years, pesticides and other environmental factors have posed massive health threads to bees. Infectious diseases can cause the death of bee populations. The American foulbrood of bees is a frequently encountered notifiable animal disease which causes infected larvae to essentially disintegrate.
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