Visiting Denmark

Corona and INSIGNIA
As told earlier, corona did influence the INSIGNIA project. Sjef van der Steen, the leader of the INSIGNIA Project had original the aim to visit as many of our Citizen Scientist in the 9 participating countries. Mission impossibly during corona time. Traveling is/was very difficult this summer. But we found a time-window for a visit in Denmark. Lot of car driving, more than 2.000 km in the small country of Denmark. But that is possibly. To have some exercise we did on our driving tour bring our bikes (read some had electric bikes, others without motor). Continue reading “Visiting Denmark”

INSIGNIA 2019 – Austrian results published in popular article

Austrian results of last year’s INSIGNIA samplings were made public in the beekeeping journal “Bienen aktuell”.
In 2019, 5 citizen scientists with 3 hives each participated.
We found that APIStrips together with beebread are the most promising matrices for detecting pesticides in beehives.
Further, we’ve chosen APIStrips for 2020, as they turned out to be more user-friendly.
For metarbarcoding, pollen sampling was the most suitable method.
The pollen analysis revealed 61 plant families with Fabaceae, Rosaceae, Plantaginaceae, Ranunculaceae and Asteraceae showing the highest occurence, respectively.
A total of 84 different substances were found in Austrian samples with an average of 2.4 in APIStrip samples, 2.9 in beebread, 1.7 in pollen and 1.4 substances in Beehold tubes.
Let’s see what 2020 samples from 9 beekeepers with 2 hives each will reveal.
Austrian INSIGNIA 2019 results in Bienen aktuell, 9, S 17-20, 2020.

Kristina Gratzer

“Today (Friday) we received the last batch of pollen samples collected by citizen scientists from all over Europe in the first half of the season. Now, time to go to the lab and do the DNA extractions!”

Alice Pinto

More popular articles published…

With samples of pollen in alcohol, and ApiStrips from the first four sampling rounds of 2020 having arrived at the laboratories in Portugal, Spain and Greece for analysis, and with beekeepers in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and the UK preparing for the sixth sampling round this weekend, it is a busy time for the INSIGNIA project. The process of disseminating information about the project also continues, with articles about the progress of the project in popular beekeeping journals having recently been published in Austria, Germany, Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands and the UK. Further articles will be published soon in other participating countries…

Pollen sample transportation ensuring cool chain!

Maybe you have not realized that is already 2 full months since we collected the 1st INSIGNIA 2020 sample of pollen and Apistrips! Yes! indeed! and the samples were stored to Citizen Scientists’ freezers  till now!

However,  the time has come for the first set of samples to be sent to National Coordinators labs, for little processing, checking, homogenizing, and then shipped to laboratories for  analysis,

But let’s take in from the beginning. Once the sample of pollen or an Apistrip is collected, it is placed in its own labeled plastic bag , and all samples together from each sampling round in one big labeled bag and stored in -20! See below the pre labeled bags which were sent to Citizen Scientists.

So far so good. Second and very important step is the transfer of the filed bags of pollen  to the National Coordinators laboratories in each country. How on earth, can we retain the cool chain required for the pollen to keep its DNA properties intact?

Well, we have a simple answer! Keep the pollen as frozen or cold as possible. Below we show you how we did it in Greece!

Styrofoam boxes with 4 freezing blocs were sent to each CSs, who packed the pollen between the newly frozen blocks and returned them via courier company to the National Coordinator’s laboratory. That way, the samples travelled secure, quickly and retain the cool chain for max 2 days of travel. Furthermore, the courier service was offered by the National Coordinator’s lab, in this case by the Department of Apiculture.

Now we do hope for excellent results!

Written by Fani Hatjina, National Coordinator, Greece