Influence of the collection methodology on the Apis mellifera venom composition: Peptide analysis
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Differences of venom peptide composition as function of two collection methodologies, electrical stimulation (ES) and reservoir disruption (RD), were analyzed by reverse-phase HPLC in Apis mellifera races - A. m. adansonii, A. m. ligustica and Africanized honeybee. The analyses were performed through determination of the relative number and percentage of each molecular form associated to the peaks eluted by chromatography. Comparison of these profiles revealed qualitative and quantitative differences related to the venom collection methodology as well to the three races analyzed. In contrast to data usually found for venom proteins, the three races presented a major number of peaks or molecular forms when venom was collected by ES. Besides, in general, the relative concentration of each peak was higher for ES in relation to RD. That indicates the presence of molecular precursors in the venom obtained by RD. The presence/absence pattern of the peaks, such as their relative concentrations showed a closer similarity between A. m. adansonii and the Africanized honeybees than that observed between these and A. m. ligustica. The obtained data allowed a discussion about the differences in the relative concentration of each venom component according to the collection methodology, and finally the biological action of the venom in different races. So, these results, apart from being useful to establish a peptide profile for each bee race as a function of the venom collection methodology, pointed out once more that the chromatographic techniques are a great tool for the identification of A. mellifera subspecies.
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