Effects of micronutrients on survival and mitochondrial viability in honey bees (Apis mellifera)
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- Master's theses (KBM) 
Old age is a phase in life that many of us fears. This fear is often related to the impaired quality of life caused by diseases old age brings along. Several micronutrients, often in plant extracts, have promise to significantly affect survival and aging. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a byproduct of cellular respiration in mitochondria, was often linked to aging and senescence. Compounds that can inactivate ROS, so-called antioxidants, are suggested to increase lifespan. The plant extract Rhodiola rosea, claimed to possess antioxidant properties, will therefore in this sense, be able extend lifespan. However, for several animal models as well as for humans, life extending effects are disputed and the possible mechanisms through which Rhodiola rosea acts are not clear. In addition, the role of antioxidants in aging is highly disputed. Honeybees serve as an invertebrate model to better understand the emergence of large interindividual differences in aging with likely relevance to human population as well. Here I show that Rhodiola rosea affects lifespan in the honeybee (Apis mellifera carnica) in a dose-dependent matter. Rhodiola rosea appears to increase the oxygen consumption in solution. Together, concentration dependent lifespan effects and oxygen consumption by Rhodiola rosea may be interpreted as follows: high doses cause the bees to die from hypoxia due to lowered availability of oxygen in the cells. Low doses of Rhodiola rosea, however, may increase the lifespan due to ROS scavenging and hence an antioxidant mode of action. In summary, this study suggests that lifespan effects by Rhodiola rosea may be linked to oxidative stress. Research on micronutrients can be valuable, because it can provide insights to the puzzling mechanism behind aging. Being able to understand the mechanisms behind the intriguing lifespan of honeybees can be helpful to understand the lifespan in humans.