University of Oulu

Ghosh, S., Herren, P., Meyer-Rochow, V. B., & Jung, C. (2021). Nutritional Composition of Honey Bee Drones of Two Subspecies Relative to Their Pupal Developmental Stages. Insects, 12(8), 759. doi:10.3390/insects12080759

Nutritional composition of honey bee drones of two subspecies relative to their pupal developmental stages

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Author: Ghosh, Sampat1; Herren, Pascal2; Meyer-Rochow, Victor Benno1,3;
Organizations: 1Agriculture Science and Technology Research Institute, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Korea
2Institute of Natural Resource Sciences, Zürich Campus Grueental, University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 8820 Waedenswil, Switzerland
3Department of Genetics and Ecology, Oulu University, 90140 Oulu, Finland
4Department of Plant Medicals, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Korea
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-15


We examined the contents of nutritional importance, i.e., amino acids, fatty acids and minerals of different developmental stages of drones of two honey bee subspecies, namely Apis mellifera carnica and A. m. mellifera. The results revealed that, in general, individual amino acid amounts and therefore the total protein increased along with the developmental stages of the drones. No statistically significant differences were found between the same developmental stages of the two subspecies. The reverse, i.e., a decrease with developmental stage occurred in relation to the fatty acid composition. Most of the minerals were higher at advanced developmental stages. Overall, the high protein content (31.4–43.4%), small amount of fat (9.5–11.5%) and abundance of minerals such asiron and zinc, make drones a suitable nutritional resource. Even though nutrient content, especially protein, was higher in the pupae than the prepupae, we propose prepupae also as a commercial product based on their higher biomass production. Provided standard production protocols maintaining hygiene and safety will be adhered to, we propose that drone honey bees can be utilized as human food or animal feed.

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Series: Insects
ISSN: 2075-4450
ISSN-E: 2075-4450
ISSN-L: 2075-4450
Volume: 12
Issue: 8
Article number: 759
DOI: 10.3390/insects12080759
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was funded by the BSRP through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Ministry of Education (NRF-2018 R1 A6 A1 A03024862). Pascal Herren was supported by AgrIQnet.
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://