Bee Grateful

Fruit and vegetables supplies could be lost without bees

(RxWiki News) Bees and other pollinators help fertilize crops to ensure there are enough fruit and vegetable supplies around the world. So without bees, where would we be?

Many countries depend heavily on fruits and vegetables to obtain essential daily nutrients. These same nutrients can even prevent and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. But researchers have found that a decline in pollinators – specifically bees - could lead to disaster and a global food shortage.

"Save the bees to save fruits and vegetables."

Researchers from Leuphana University of Luneburg, the University of Berlin in Germany and the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco found that many of the global crops that contain essential nutrients for healthy living are animal-pollinated crops.

The researchers found that red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables that provide carotenoids, lycopene and beta-cryptoxanthin are plants that must be pollinated. Those nutrients are beneficial for heart disease and some cancers.

They also found that about half of the global food supply for calcium and fluoride – sesame seeds, almonds and spinach - are crops produced by pollinated plants, which provide healthy bone and teeth development.

Without pollinators – like bees – 40 percent of essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables could be lost, according to the researchers. Some parts of the globe are already experiencing such losses due to disease, pesticides, farming practices and lack of nutritional resources for pollinators.

So don't shoo the bees!

The study is published in the journal Plos ONE.

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Review Date: 
June 28, 2011