Antifungal activity of the essential oil obtained from Cryptocarya alba against infection in honey bees by Nosema ceranae

Bravo J, Carbonell V, Sepúlveda B, Delporte C, Valdovinos CE, Martín-Hernández R, Higes M
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 2017


The honeybee disease nosemosis type C is a serious problem since its causative agent, microsporidium Nosema ceranae, is widespread among adult honey bees. Some of the feasible alternative treatments that are used to control this disease are plant extracts. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effects of essential oils of Chilean plant species, such as Cryptocarya alba, which is used against N. ceranae, and to identify and quantify the majority active compounds in the EO as well as their potential use for the control of nosemosis. Essential oils were obtained using the stripping steam technique with Clevenger equipment and were subsequently analyzed by Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Mortality was recorded daily over at least 8 days as worker honeybees were exposed to a range of doses of EO dispersed in a sucrose solution. C. alba oil appears to be nontoxic to A. mellifera adults at the tested concentration (the same concentration inhibits the growth of N. ceranae), showing that this oil can be used for the treatment of nosemosis. EO effectiveness was demonstrated against N. ceranae by calculating the percentage of decrease in infected bees from untreated infected groups vs infected groups treated with EO or the reference drug fumagillin. It was determined that a dose of 4 µg EO/bee was most effective in controlling N. ceranae development. We determined innocuous doses of C. alba essential oil for honeybees. We demonstrated the antifungal activity of C. alba EO at 4 μg/bee against N. ceranae and compared it to its major monoterpenes, such as β- phellandrene (20 μg/bee), eucalyptol (20 μg/bee) and α- terpineol (20 μg/bee). The major compounds of C. alba EO, α-terpineol, eucalyptol and β-phellandrene, had significant effects against Apis mellifera infection by N. ceranae, but the antifungal effect of the complete essential oil on N. ceranae was larger than the effect of α-terpineol, eucalyptol or β- phellandrene separately, showing that C. alba oil may be a candidate for the treatment or prevention of nosemosis.


Bravo J, Carbonell V, Sepúlveda B et al. Antifungal activity of the essential oil obtained from Cryptocarya alba against infection in honey bees by Nosema ceranae. J Invertebr Pathol. 2017 Aug 14. pii: S0022-2011(17)30153-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2017.08.012.

[maxbutton id=”2361″]