Insights into the degradation and toxicity difference mechanism of neonicotinoid pesticides in honeybees by mass spectrometry imaging.

Affiliation

Zhang Y(1), Chen D(2), Du M(2), Ma L(2), Li P(2), Qin R(1), Yang J(2), Yin Z(3), Wu X(4), Xu H(5).
Author information:
(1)State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources and Key Laboratory of Natural Pesticide and Chemical Biology of the Ministry of Education, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China; Key Laboratory of Bio-Pesticide Creation and Application, Guangzhou 510642, China.
(2)State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources and Key Laboratory of Natural Pesticide and Chemical Biology of the Ministry of Education, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China.
(3)Agro-biological Gene Research Center, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(4)State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources and Key Laboratory of Natural Pesticide and Chemical Biology of the Ministry of Education, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(5)State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources and Key Laboratory of Natural Pesticide and Chemical Biology of the Ministry of Education, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Honeybees are essential for the pollination of a wide variety of crops and flowering plants, whereas they are confronting decline around the world due to the overuse of pesticides, especially neonicotinoids. The mechanism behind the negative impacts of neonicotinoids on honeybees has attracted considerable interest, yet it remains unknown due to the limited insights into the spatiotemporal distribution of pesticides in honeybees. Herein, we demonstrated the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) for the spatiotemporal visualization of neonicotinoids, such as N-nitroguanidine (dinotefuran) and N-cyanoamidine (acetamiprid) compounds, administered by oral application or direct contact, in the whole-body section of honeybees. The MSI results revealed that both dinotefuran and acetamiprid can quickly penetrate various biological barriers and distribute within the whole-body section of honeybees, but acetamiprid can be degraded much faster than dinotefuran. The degradation rate of acetamiprid is significantly decreased when piperonyl butoxide (PBO) is applied, whereas that of dinotefuran remains almost unchanged. These two factors might contribute to the fact that dinotefuran affords a higher toxicity to honeybees than acetamiprid. Moreover, the toxicity and degradation rate of acetamiprid can be affected by co-application with tebuconazole. Taken together, the results presented here indicate that the discrepant toxicity between dinotefuran and acetamiprid does not lie in the difference in their penetration of various biological barriers of honeybees, but in the degradation rate of neonicotinoid pesticides within honeybee tissues. Moreover, new perspectives are given to better understand the causes of the current decline in honeybee populations posed by insecticides, providing guidelines for the precise use of conventional agrochemicals and the rational design of novel pesticide candidates.