Project snapshot: Increasing the value of Australian honey as a health food
Honey has a long history of use to treat digestive ailments and research suggests honey acts as a prebiotic food that favourably changes the balance...
Published: 28 Mar 2023
Author(s): Aidan Whitby
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Paenibacillus larvae, the bacterium responsible for American foulbrood (AFB), is a serious economic threat to apiaries. This bacterial infection can infect both strong and weak colonies, and is challenging to manage due to highly resistant spores that can remain viable for more than 50 years. Therefore, effective beekeeping practices are necessary to prevent the spread of AFB between hives.
A rapid and cost-effective diagnostic tool could significantly enhance management of AFB. Knowing this, the research team behind this project developed a field-deployable assay to detect P. larvae based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technology, called AFB-LAMP. The assay’s diagnostic sensitivity (98.41%) and specificity (100%) were validated in the field, suggesting its suitability as a point-of-care assay. This rapid and affordable diagnostic tool could help apiarists protect their colonies from this devastating disease.