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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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Related in: MedlinePlus

A Ant survival according to the protein type used to prepare the high-protein diet and the supplementation in biotin. N = 8 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Mortality dynamics were consistent between colonies of the same treatment. B Mean number of biting events observed. Nests were scanned 60 times (every 3 min for 3 hours) for 5 days. N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment.
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pone-0112801-g007: A Ant survival according to the protein type used to prepare the high-protein diet and the supplementation in biotin. N = 8 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Mortality dynamics were consistent between colonies of the same treatment. B Mean number of biting events observed. Nests were scanned 60 times (every 3 min for 3 hours) for 5 days. N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment.

Mentions: Life expectancy was increased when we added biotin to the 5∶1 EGG diet (Biotin effect, Wald = 133.82, P<0.001, mean lifespan±CI0.95∶19.78±0.19 and 9.53±0.19 for 5∶1 EGG+Biotin and 5∶1 EGG, Figure 7A) but not when we added biotin to the 5∶1 MIX diet (interaction Treatment x Biotin, Wald = 94.21, P<0.001, mean lifespan±CI0.95∶25.29±0.70 and 23.34±0.44 for MIX+biotin and MIX, Figure 7A). Nevertheless, ants lived longer on the 5∶1 MIX diet supplemented with biotin than on the 5∶1 EGG diet supplemented with biotin (Wald = 36.19, P<0.001, Figure 7A). Ants fed the 5∶1 EGG+Biotin or the 5∶1 MIX+Biotin diet were rarely observed to be aggressive towards a nestmate (Biotin effect F1,12 = 39.15, P<0.001, Interaction Biotin x diet F1,12 = 37.58 P<0.001, Figure 7B).


Observations of the "egg white injury" in ants.

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

A Ant survival according to the protein type used to prepare the high-protein diet and the supplementation in biotin. N = 8 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Mortality dynamics were consistent between colonies of the same treatment. B Mean number of biting events observed. Nests were scanned 60 times (every 3 min for 3 hours) for 5 days. N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0112801-g007: A Ant survival according to the protein type used to prepare the high-protein diet and the supplementation in biotin. N = 8 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment. Mortality dynamics were consistent between colonies of the same treatment. B Mean number of biting events observed. Nests were scanned 60 times (every 3 min for 3 hours) for 5 days. N = 4 experimental colonies of 200 individuals per treatment.
Mentions: Life expectancy was increased when we added biotin to the 5∶1 EGG diet (Biotin effect, Wald = 133.82, P<0.001, mean lifespan±CI0.95∶19.78±0.19 and 9.53±0.19 for 5∶1 EGG+Biotin and 5∶1 EGG, Figure 7A) but not when we added biotin to the 5∶1 MIX diet (interaction Treatment x Biotin, Wald = 94.21, P<0.001, mean lifespan±CI0.95∶25.29±0.70 and 23.34±0.44 for MIX+biotin and MIX, Figure 7A). Nevertheless, ants lived longer on the 5∶1 MIX diet supplemented with biotin than on the 5∶1 EGG diet supplemented with biotin (Wald = 36.19, P<0.001, Figure 7A). Ants fed the 5∶1 EGG+Biotin or the 5∶1 MIX+Biotin diet were rarely observed to be aggressive towards a nestmate (Biotin effect F1,12 = 39.15, P<0.001, Interaction Biotin x diet F1,12 = 37.58 P<0.001, Figure 7B).

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