(ORDO NEWS) — Argentine scientists were able to teach insects to pollinate mainly sunflowers and now hope to repeat the same with other agricultural plants.
To achieve this result, a team of biologists led by Walter Farina of the University of Buenos Aires made a special artificial flavor that bees associate with the smell of sunflower. At the same time, scientists did not completely copy the smell but took only those elements that are important for insects. This flavor was then added to the beer crust. As a result, bees collected nectar and pollen mainly on sunflowers, which increased the seed yield in nearby fields by 29-57%.
In conducting this experiment, Farina’s group based on their previous research, during which they found that previous experiences and memories associated with the smell of sunflowers affect the taste preferences of bees. Therefore, in general, the result was expected for scientists, although they note that they were very surprised at how long the effect lasted.
“With this procedure, it is possible to influence the nutritional activity of bees and thus significantly increase the yield,” says Farina. “In other words, pollination can be greatly improved by using simple flavoring as part of a targeted pollination strategy.”
Now the researchers are studying other crops that depend on pollination for their yield, and intend to create a whole line of fragrances to “train” bees.
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