Congratulations to Maria Murcia – a PhD thesis from within INSIGNIA

It is with great pride that we congratulate Maria and the Almeria team for Marias’s successful defense of her thesis on the subject: “Environmental monitoring of pesticides using passive sampling in honeybee hives”, work carried out during the INSIGNIA and INSIGNIA-EU projects

You could also express it as the development of the APIStrip used within bee colonies to monitoring pollution in the environment.

Let Maria explain herself from her abstract:

Article 1. Firstly, pesticide monitoring in bee hives was carried out to evaluate the advantages and limitations of the active sampling of bee matrices. This study made it possible to determine the main trends in the accumulation of pesticides in different parts of the hive, as well as to evaluate the migration of these residues towards the most vulnerable beings in the colony: bees in larval stage (bee brood). This study provided the necessary information to understand which aspects should be considered during the design of a passive sampler to replace the analysis of bee matrices.

Article 2. Secondly, the results obtained were considered during the selection of an adsorbent mate-rial with the capacity to capture substances with different physicochemical properties; Tenax® polymer was chosen for this purpose. The sampler shape, as well as the nature of the support, were also designed to facilitate the sampling process and minimize the impact on the colonies. This led to the development of the APIStrip (Adsorb-Pesticide-Inhive Strip), a tool whose main purpose is to simplify and streamline the environmental monitoring of pesticide residues through honey bee hives.

Articles 3 and 4. Finally, once designed and optimized, the APIStrips were applied in field studies involving large-scale monitoring in different European countries. These monitoring studies were carried out in the framework of the European INSIGNIA project during 2019 and 2020, attracting the attention of different research and beekeeping groups from all over the world. These studies have confirmed the ease of use of APIStrips, as well as their ability to adsorb pesticides that typically accumulate in the different beehive matrices. The results of these monitoring studies have provided valuable information about the presence of contaminants in the environment in different countries and landscapes. Additionally, the APIStrips have been used to study the dissipation and cross-contamination phenomena of the most ubiquitous products inside hives: veterinary treatments.

Publications available and upon request to any of the INSIGNIA members):

“Distribution of chemical residues in the beehive compartments and their transfer to the honeybee brood” by María Murcia Morales, María José Gómez Ramos, Piedad Parrilla Vázquez, Francisco José Díaz Galiano, Mar García Valverde, Victoria Gámiz López, José Manuel Flore, Amadeo R. Fernández-Alba. 

“APIStrip, a new tool for environmental contaminant sampling through honeybee colonies” by María Murcia-Morales, Jozef J.M. Van der Steen, Flemming Vejsnæs, Francisco José Díaz-Galiano, José Manuel Flores, Amadeo R. Fernández-Alba. Science of the Total Environment 729 (2020).

Environmental monitoring study of pesticide contamination in Denmark through honey bee colonies using APIStrip-based sampling. María Murcia-Morales, Francisco José Díaz-Galiano, Flemming Vejsnæs, Ole Kilpinen, Jozef J.M. Van der Steen, Amadeo R. Fernández-Alba. Environmental Pollution 290 (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117888

Dissipation and cross-contamination of miticides in apiculture. Evaluation by APIStrip-based sampling. María Murcia-Morales, Francisco José Díaz-Galiano, Inmaculada Gutiérrez-Tirado, José Manuel Flores, Jozef J.M. Van der Steen, Amadeo R. Fernández-Alba. Chemosphere 280 (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130783