Neurotoxic potential of ingested ZnO nanomaterials on bees

Milivojević T, Glavan G, Božič J, Sepčić K, Mesarič T, Drobne D
[ pdf ] [ site ] Chemosphere, 2015

The honey bee is among most important pollinators threatened by environmental pollution, pest control and potentially, by products of nanotechnologies. The aim of the current study was an analysis of the neurotoxic potential of ingested zinc oxide nanomaterials (ZnO NMs) or zinc ions (Zn2+) on honey bees. We analysed a variety of biomarkers, including metabolic impairment, feeding rate, and survival, as well as the activities of a stress-related enzyme glutathione S-transferase, and the neurotoxicity biomarker acetylcholinesterase. Acetylcholinesterase activity was found to be elevated in bees exposed to either of the tested substances. In addition, we observed increased feeding rate in the group treated with Zn2+ but not with ZnO NMs or control group. The observed effects we relate primarily to Zn2+ ions. Here we provide evidence that zinc ions either originating from Zn salt or Zn-based NPs have a neurotoxic potential and thus might contribute to colony survival.