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Probing the interaction of Paenibacillus larvae bacteriophage as a biological agent to control the american foulbrood disease in honeybee.

American foulbrood (AFB) is a harmful honeybee disease primarily caused by Paenibacillus larvae . The study aims to isolate and identify the AFB causative agent P. larvae and their specific phages to use as a new biological method for AFB disease control. Eight apiaries were inspected for AFB infections. Symptoms of diseased brood comb, were odd brood cells with soft brown decayed brood amongst healthy brood, were identified in the field and demonstrated the prevalence of AFB in every apiary. Three P. larvae isolates were identified using traditional techniques using a 452-bp PCR amplicon specific to the bacterial 16SrRNA gene and was compared between Paenibacillus isolates. Additionally, specific phages of P. larvae strains were applied to examine their efficiency in reducing the infection rate under the apiary condition. The infection rate was reduced to approximately 94.6 to 100 % through the application of a phage mixture, as opposed to 20 to 85.7 % when each phage was administered individually or 78.6 to 88.9 % when antibiotic treatment was implemented. Histological studies on phage-treated bee larvae revealed some cells regaining normal shape, with prominent nuclei and microvilli. The gastrointestinal tract showed normal longitudinal and circular muscles, unlike bee larvae treated with bacterial strains with abnormal and destroyed tissues, as shown by the basement membrane surrounding the mid-gut epithelium. Phage techniques exhibited promise in resolving the issue of AFB in honeybees due to their ease of application, comparatively lower cost, and practicality for beekeepers in terms of laboratory preparation.

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