Food safety and pollinator crisis: pharmacological neuroprotection against sublethal effects of neonicotinoids in the honey bee Apis mellifera

Project: Research Project

Project Details


The balance between population growth and production and access to food is one of the main challenges for the 21st century.

It is estimated that by 2050 the necessary global food production will be 70-100% greater than today.

Efforts to increase land productivity include genetic improvement of crops and the use of agrochemicals that increase production and decrease the effect of pests. However, some agrochemicals produce harmful side effects on beneficial species.

Such is the case of neonicotinoids, neurotoxic insecticides that are currently part of the equation that explains the rapid disappearance of pollinators, mainly bees.

Since pollinators support the production of up to 80% of food in some regions, their disappearance increases production costs and decreases crop productivity.

Furthermore, the disappearance of pollinators deteriorates the balance of natural ecosystems, affecting, for example, the availability of water.

The solutions have taken several directions, pointing to the establishment of policies to regulate the use of agrochemicals, the development of conservation plans and the evaluation of the negative effects of agrochemicals.

This proposal takes a pioneering approach by focusing on the use of pharmacological neuroprotection for pollinators.

Our preliminary results show that the cognitive effects of Imidacloprid, the most used neonicotinoid in the world, are mitigated by the prophylactic administration of two molecules of plant originA.

This proposal seeks:

1. Optimize the protective dose-response relationship of bees in order to lay the foundations for field trials,

2. Carry out tests to evaluate the protection granted during the development of bees

3. Evaluate the immunoprotective potential of the molecules

4. Study the causes of the observed protection, thus laying the foundations for its enhancement.

Commitments / Obligations

The publication of at least two articles in specialized journals and the writing of at least two patents is expected.

At least one master's student and at least two undergraduate thesis students are expected to join.
Effective start/end date8/1/188/1/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Main Funding Source

  • Competitive Funds
  • Great Amount


  • Bogotá D.C.


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