ACS and the University of Piacenza together for the biomonitoring with bees
Bees as bio-indicators to minimize particulate emissions and the impact of dust pollutants on the environment.
There is also the contribution of ACS in the important project of research and environmental sustainability on pollination, pest control and biomonitoring with bees, conducted by the the Department of Sustainable Crop Production of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Piacenza. As part of the Erasmus PLUS Project - From Seed to Spoon, the research team coordinated by Dr. Ilaria Negri is engaged in the study of the lethal and sublethal effects that pollutants, such as particulate matter and microplastics, can have on the health of bees and in the search for preventive and corrective actions, including pollination services in urban and suburban areas.
ACS, which has always been sensitive to environmental issues, participates by promoting the reproduction of the best climatic conditions for insects. Thanks to the ACS climatic chamber DY200, the researchers of the University of Piacenza are in fact able to incubate a frame of Apis mellifera brood and thus determine the best climatic conditions for their growth and promote the increase in production of an animal species so important for the habitat and for Research, but at serious risk of extinction.
In line with the project objectives, the ACS chamber therefore participates in the process of regulation, naturally present in all ecosystems, and in the control of pests. During their flights, insects, as Professor Negri explains, are strongly exposed to contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, radionuclides, VOCs, PAHs, dioxins and atmospheric particulate matter. These pollutants can cause serious damage to the health of bees, even leading to their death. Promoting and reproducing the adequate ecosystem that preserves them from high mortality by helping them to maintain their ethological and morphological characteristics becomes therefore fundamental as the first process of ecological detection. Bees, explains Negri, "are evolutionarily adapted to capture pollen, but by doing so they also attract other things, they get dirty with many inorganic particles and this is what we then analyze. By studying it, we can understand everything from the presence of heavy metals to the presence of minerals, up to understanding if these components are produced by human activities and how much these activities contribute to pollution".
Performance and flexibility: the Compact chambers offer high performance in a limited space. They are ideal for those who want to carry out their own climatic and thermostatic tests without the availability of a large test laboratory.
Compact chambers provide the same functionality as a climatic chamber, with a complete configuration including an inspection window and a number of additional benefits:
- Small footprint
- Easy installation
- Low power consumption
- Low noise emissions
They are often the perfect solution for R&D departments needing to test small components and specimens with limited dimensions.
The From Seed to Spoon project
Reproducing climatic conditions in controlled environments makes it possible to study the lethal and sublethal effects pollutants can have on bees health, looking for preventive and corrective actions to protect an animal species fundamental to our planet, but at serious risk of extinction. Helping bees to maintain their ethological and morphological characteristics is a fundamental first step in ecological detection.
Our climatic chamber is currently being used to incubate a frame of Apis mellifera brood: the aim is to determine the best climatic conditions for their growth.
The DEBUG project
DEBUG is another important study by the Catholic University of Piacenza aimed at understanding how climate change affects biodiversity. In order to promote sustainable management of agriculture, the Research Team studies the effects of the introduction of alien species into our territory and the consequences of changed climatic conditions on harmful organisms. The alien species being studied is the Asian bug, Halyomorpha halys, an extremely voracious and polyphagous insect that is threatening various sectors (fruit and vegetables, large herbaceous crops, horticulture, etc.).
Dr Ilaria Negri says: "By using a climatic chamber, the effect of specific environmental parameters (for example, typical parameters of the microhabitats of a crop) on the physiology and life cycle of pests can be verified. This allows us to know what are the conditions that determine greater or lesser physiological stress for an insect and which are therefore the (micro) areas of crops most susceptible to infestations, so as to be able to implement targeted and localized sustainable defense interventions, according to a principle of Precision Crop Protection. These data can also be used to integrate predictive models of the spread of infestations in the field, also in light of the climate changes underway."