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A new study proves that diesel exhaust pollution alters half of the most common flower scents that bees need to locate their food
Quelle:: University of Southampton, US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Agriculture
Prior to the Volkswagen emissions scandal, diesel was hailed as a great environmentally friendly fuel options, with Volkswagen Passat TDI even being named the most eco-friendly car of 2015 by the popular car website cars.com.
However, the nitrous oxide present in the exhaust gas of diesel vehicles has always been a concern, as exposure to it has been linked to asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses in humans.
Researchers from the University of Southampton now have proof that the nitrous oxide in diesel fumes significantly alters four of the eight most common flower volatiles that bees use to recognize flowers, essentially halving bees' food options.
Bees use a mixture of olfactory and visual stimuli to find suitable host plants, but rely mainly on their sense of smell to locate food. Thus, pollinators in polluted areas may need to spend more time searching for adequate flowers, which could lead to decreased pollination rates.
This has a damaging effect not only on the size of the bee population, but also the food industry; with nearly 80 percent of food and plat-based industrial products requiring pollination, a service worth more than 3 trillion dollars worldwide.