Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia), a controversial 21st century honey bee pathogen

Authors

  • Mariano Higes,

    Corresponding author
    • Centro Apícola Regional (CAR), Dirección General de la Producción Agropecuaria, Consejería de Agricultura, Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Aránzazu Meana,

    1. Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carolina Bartolomé,

    1. Departamento de Anatomía Patolóxica e Ciencias Forenses, Grupo de Medicina Xenómica, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Cristina Botías,

    1. Centro Apícola Regional (CAR), Dirección General de la Producción Agropecuaria, Consejería de Agricultura, Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Raquel Martín-Hernández

    1. Centro Apícola Regional (CAR), Dirección General de la Producción Agropecuaria, Consejería de Agricultura, Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
    2. Instituto de Recursos Humanos para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (INCRECYT), Fundación Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Albacete, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

For correspondence. E-mail mhiges@jccm.es; Tel. (+34) 949 250 026; Fax (+34) 949 250 176.

Summary

The worldwide beekeeping sector has been facing a grave threat, with losses up to 100–1000 times greater than those previously reported. Despite the scale of this honey bee mortality, the causes underlying this phenomenon remain unclear, yet they are thought to be multifactorial processes. Nosema ceranae, a microsporidium recently detected in the European bee all over the world, has been implicated in the global phenomenon of colony loss, although its role remains controversial. A review of the current knowledge about this pathogen is presented focussing on discussion related with divergent results, trying to analyse the differences specially based on different methodologies applied and divisive aspects on pathology while considering a biological or veterinarian point of view. For authors, the disease produced by N. ceranae infection cannot be considered a regional problem but rather a global one, as indicated by the wide prevalence of this parasite in multiple hosts. Not only does this type of nosemosis causes a clear pathology on honeybees at both the individual and colony levels, but it also has significant effects on the production of honeybee products.

Ancillary