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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Oct;73(20):6331-8. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

Outcome of colonization of Apis mellifera by Nosema ceranae.

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Regional Apicultural Center, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, 19180 Marchamalo, Spain.


A multiplex PCR-based method, in which two small-subunit rRNA regions are simultaneously amplified in a single reaction, was designed for parallel detection of honeybee microsporidians (Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae). Each of two pairs of primers exclusively amplified the 16S rRNA targeted gene of a specific microsporidian. The multiplex PCR assay was useful for specific detection of the two species of microsporidians related to bee nosemosis, not only in purified spores but also in honeybee homogenates and in naturally infected bees. The multiplex PCR assay was also able to detect coinfections by the two species. Screening of bee samples from Spain, Switzerland, France, and Germany using the PCR technique revealed a greater presence of N. ceranae than of N. apis in Europe, although both species are widely distributed. From the year 2000 onward, statistically significant differences have been found in the proportions of Nosema spp. spore-positive samples collected between and within years. In the first period examined (1999 to 2002), the smallest number of samples diagnosed as Nosema positive was found during the summer months, showing clear seasonality in the diagnosis, which is characteristic of N. apis. From 2003 onward a change in the tendency resulted in an increase in Nosema-positive samples in all months until 2005, when a total absence of seasonality was detected. A significant causative association between the presence of N. ceranae and hive depopulation clearly indicates that the colonization of Apis mellifera by N. ceranae is related to bee losses.

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