BSI, or The Case of the Disappearing Bees
The "pollinator crisis"--the widespread decline in the viability of animals that transport pollen and allow most of the planet's flowering plants to reproduce--may lack marquee appeal as a form of global change but it has real potential for profoundly altering the terrestrial world. Close to 100 crop plants in the U.S. rely on a single pollinator--the honey bee--to survive and reproduce.
Over the past year, the mysterious disappearance of one-third of America's honey bees, due to what has become known as colony collapse disorder, has focused attention on how little is known about U.S. pollinators and how dependent we are upon them. Professor May Berenbaum, Professor and Head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois, will discuss the pollinator crisis, the plight of the honey bee, and advances in entomology that provide hope for the future of America's bees.
Professor Berenbaum will also share with us recent research about the nutraceutical properties of honey. It is now understood that honey is a potentially rich source of antioxidants, compounds that can reduce or counteract toxic oxygen radicals. In view of the fact that oxygen radicals have been implicated as factors contributing to a wide range of human health problems including heart disease and cancer, incorporation of honey into the diet, particularly in place of sugar, may have health-promoting, or nutraceutical, value.
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