Microplastics’ Effects Alone and with Imidacloprid and Cobalt in Apis mellifera
Abstract – Recently, plastic consumption has become a source of concern for scientists. As large amounts of plastic accumulate in the environment, microplastics have emerged as a common pollutant. In the past years, there has also been a significant reduction in honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies with no identifiable cause. This has led scientists to look into pollutants as a potential culprit for these losses. They have discovered that common pesticides, such as imidacloprid, and heavy metals, such as Cobalt, produce sublethal effects on honeybees. However, little is known about how microplastics may affect honeybees. Previous research has demonstrated that microplastics produce an alteration in the gut microbiota of bees, however no other effects have been researched. The aim of this project is to further investigate how microplastics may impact honeybees using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. This will allow for the assessment of how microplastics affect locomotion, intestinal barrier permeability, short-term memory, and DNA damage. Upon assessing the data and results, microplastics’ negative effects were demonstrated. Microplastics cause abnormalities in locomotion, intestinal barrier function, memory, and DNA damage. Several additive effects were demonstrated in locomotion when microplastics and Cobalt are combined as well as an additive effect of microplastics and imidacloprid when it comes to memory. Due to Drosophila and honeybees’ homology; these results indicate that microplastics contribute to the rising loss of honeybee colonies, and that microplastics are able to aggravate certain effects of other pollutants tested (Cobalt and Imidacloprid).