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Type: Journal article
Title: A theoretical exploration of dietary collective medication in social insects
Author: Poissonnier, L.
Lihoreau, M.
Gomez-Moracho, T.
Dussutour, A.
Buhl, J.
Citation: Journal of Insect Physiology, 2018; 106(1):78-87
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0022-1910
Statement of
Laure-Anne Poissonnier, Mathieu Lihoreau, Tamara Gomez-Moracho, Audrey Dussutour, Jerome Buhl
Abstract: Animals often alter their food choices following a pathogen infection in order to increase immune function and combat the infection. Whether social animals that collect food for their brood or nestmates adjust their nutrient intake to the infection states of their social partners is virtually unexplored. Here we develop an individual-based model of nutritional geometry to examine the impact of collective nutrient balancing on pathogen spread in a social insect colony. The model simulates a hypothetical social insect colony infected by a horizontally transmitted parasite. Simulation experiments suggest that collective nutrition, by which foragers adjust their nutrient intake to simultaneously address their own nutritional needs as well as those of their infected nestmates, is an efficient social immunity mechanism to limit contamination when immune responses are short. Impaired foraging in infected workers can favour colony resilience when pathogen transmission rate is low (by reducing contacts with the few infected foragers) or trigger colony collapse when transmission rate is fast (by depleting the entire pool of foragers). Our theoretical examination of dietary collective medication in social insects suggests a new possible mechanism by which colonies can defend themselves against pathogens and provides a conceptual framework for experimental investigations of the nutritional immunology of social animals.
Keywords: Individual-based model; nutritional geometry; nutritional immunology; social immunity; social insects
Rights: © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
RMID: 0030075524
DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2017.08.005
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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