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Observations of the "egg white injury" in ants.

Poissonnier LA, Simpson SJ, Dussutour A - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Eating excess protein relative to carbohydrate shortens lifespan in solitary and social insects.Here we explored how lifespan and behavior in ants was affected by the quality of protein ingested and the presence of associated antinutrients (i.e. compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients).In conclusion, anti-nutrients were known to affect health and performance of animals, but this is the first study showing that anti-nutrients also lead to severe changes in behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Center on Animal Cognition, The National Center for Scientific Research and Toulouse University, Toulouse, France.

ABSTRACT
A key determinant of the relationship between diet and longevity is the balance of protein to carbohydrate in the diet. Eating excess protein relative to carbohydrate shortens lifespan in solitary and social insects. Here we explored how lifespan and behavior in ants was affected by the quality of protein ingested and the presence of associated antinutrients (i.e. compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients). We tested diets prepared with either egg white protein only or a protein mixture. Egg white contains an anti-nutrient called avidin. Avidin binds to the B vitamin biotin, preventing its absorption. First, we demonstrate that an egg-white diet was twice as deleterious as a protein-mixture diet. Second, we show that ingestion of egg-white diet drastically affected social behavior, triggering elevated levels of aggression within the colony. Lastly, we reveal that by adding biotin to the egg white diet we were able to lessen its detrimental effects. This latest result suggests that ants suffered biotin deficiency when fed the egg white diet. In conclusion, anti-nutrients were known to affect health and performance of animals, but this is the first study showing that anti-nutrients also lead to severe changes in behavior.

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A Proportion of ants in the foraging arena according to the diet (number of ants observed in the foraging arena divided by colony size). B Proportion of ants in the foraging arena that are feeding according to the diet (number of ants observed feeding divided by colony size). N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Colony sizes were adjusted to account for ant mortality.
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pone-0112801-g003: A Proportion of ants in the foraging arena according to the diet (number of ants observed in the foraging arena divided by colony size). B Proportion of ants in the foraging arena that are feeding according to the diet (number of ants observed feeding divided by colony size). N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Colony sizes were adjusted to account for ant mortality.

Mentions: The proportion of ants in the foraging arena decreased across days from day 1 for the high carbohydrates diet (1∶5 MIX) and only from day 3 for both high protein diets (5∶1 MIX and 5∶1 EGG) (Table 1, Figure 3A). For the high carbohydrate diet (1∶5 MIX) the proportion of ants in the foraging arena decreased throughout each day while it remained almost constant throughout the day for the high protein diets (5∶1 MIX and 5∶1 EGG).


Observations of the "egg white injury" in ants.

Poissonnier LA, Simpson SJ, Dussutour A - PLoS ONE (2014)

A Proportion of ants in the foraging arena according to the diet (number of ants observed in the foraging arena divided by colony size). B Proportion of ants in the foraging arena that are feeding according to the diet (number of ants observed feeding divided by colony size). N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Colony sizes were adjusted to account for ant mortality.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4231089&req=5

pone-0112801-g003: A Proportion of ants in the foraging arena according to the diet (number of ants observed in the foraging arena divided by colony size). B Proportion of ants in the foraging arena that are feeding according to the diet (number of ants observed feeding divided by colony size). N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Colony sizes were adjusted to account for ant mortality.
Mentions: The proportion of ants in the foraging arena decreased across days from day 1 for the high carbohydrates diet (1∶5 MIX) and only from day 3 for both high protein diets (5∶1 MIX and 5∶1 EGG) (Table 1, Figure 3A). For the high carbohydrate diet (1∶5 MIX) the proportion of ants in the foraging arena decreased throughout each day while it remained almost constant throughout the day for the high protein diets (5∶1 MIX and 5∶1 EGG).

Bottom Line: Eating excess protein relative to carbohydrate shortens lifespan in solitary and social insects.Here we explored how lifespan and behavior in ants was affected by the quality of protein ingested and the presence of associated antinutrients (i.e. compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients).In conclusion, anti-nutrients were known to affect health and performance of animals, but this is the first study showing that anti-nutrients also lead to severe changes in behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Center on Animal Cognition, The National Center for Scientific Research and Toulouse University, Toulouse, France.

ABSTRACT
A key determinant of the relationship between diet and longevity is the balance of protein to carbohydrate in the diet. Eating excess protein relative to carbohydrate shortens lifespan in solitary and social insects. Here we explored how lifespan and behavior in ants was affected by the quality of protein ingested and the presence of associated antinutrients (i.e. compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients). We tested diets prepared with either egg white protein only or a protein mixture. Egg white contains an anti-nutrient called avidin. Avidin binds to the B vitamin biotin, preventing its absorption. First, we demonstrate that an egg-white diet was twice as deleterious as a protein-mixture diet. Second, we show that ingestion of egg-white diet drastically affected social behavior, triggering elevated levels of aggression within the colony. Lastly, we reveal that by adding biotin to the egg white diet we were able to lessen its detrimental effects. This latest result suggests that ants suffered biotin deficiency when fed the egg white diet. In conclusion, anti-nutrients were known to affect health and performance of animals, but this is the first study showing that anti-nutrients also lead to severe changes in behavior.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus