Land Use Influences the Composition and Antimicrobial Effects of Propolis

Amara J. Orth, Emma H. Curran, Eric J. Haas, Andrew C. Kraemer, Audrey M. Anderson, Nicholas J. Mason, Carol A. Fassbinder-Orth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Honey bee propolis is a complex, resinous mixture created by bees using plant sources such as leaves, flowers, and bud exudates. This study characterized how cropland surrounding apiaries affects the chemical composition and antimicrobial effects of propolis. The chemical composition and compound abundance of the propolis samples were analyzed using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and the antimicrobial effects were analyzed using the 50% minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC50) assay against four relevant bee pathogens, Serratia marcescens, Paenibacillus larvae, Lysinibacillus sphaericus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Propolis composition varied significantly with apiary, and cropland coverage predicted mean sum abundance of compounds. The apiary with the highest cropland coverage exhibited significantly higher MIC50 values for S. marcescens and K. pneumoniae compared to other apiaries. These results demonstrate that agricultural land use surrounding honey bee apiaries decreases the chemical quality and antimicrobial effects of propolis, which may have implications for the impacts of land use on hive immunity to potential pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number239
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Insect Science


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