The Herbicide Glyphosate Negatively Affects Midgut Bacterial Communities and Survival of Honey Bee during Larvae Reared in Vitro

J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Jul 25;66(29):7786-7793. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b02212. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


Effects of glyphosate on survival, developmental rate, larval weight, and midgut bacterial diversity of Apis mellifera were tested in the laboratory. Larvae were reared in vitro and fed diet containing glyphosate 0.8, 4, and 20 mg/L. The dependent variables were compared with negative control and positive control (dimethoate 45 mg/L). Brood survival decreased in 4 or 20 mg/L glyphosate treatments but not in 0.8 mg/L, and larval weight decreased in 0.8 or 4 mg/L glyphosate treatments. Exposure to three concentrations did not affect the developmental rate. Furthermore, the intestinal bacterial communities were determined using high-throughput sequencing targeting the V3-V4 regions of the 16S rDNA. All core honey bee intestinal bacterial phyla such as Proteobacteria (30.86%), Firmicutes (13.82%), and Actinobacteria (11.88%) were detected, and significant changes were found in the species diversity and richness in 20 mg/L glyphosate group. Our results suggest that high concentrations of glyphosate are deleterious to immature bees.

Keywords: Apis mellifera; chronic exposure; glyphosate; larvae; midgut bacterial community.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bees / drug effects*
  • Bees / growth & development
  • Bees / microbiology
  • Biodiversity
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Herbicides / toxicity*
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / growth & development*
  • Larva / microbiology


  • Herbicides
  • glyphosate
  • Glycine