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Misstatement?

Posted by DeanStiglitz on 01 Mar 2012 at 08:50 GMT

Among the high number of microorganisms which are coexisting with honey bee colonies, most are opportunistic and induce troubles under as-yet undefined environmental conditions.
http://plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0032151#article1.body1.sec4.p2

Given that even in the days of culturing microbes to identify them that over 8000 species of microbes have been identified as coexisting with honeybees, this statement seems off. "most" implies more than half, "induce" implies a cause. There have not been 4000+ microbes identified as causing "troubles" in beehives. This statement does not appear to fit with the rest of the paper. Can this be clarified and/or corrected?

No competing interests declared.

RE: Misstatement?

Benjamin replied to DeanStiglitz on 29 Mar 2012 at 12:37 GMT

Thank you for reading carefully the manuscript as well as for your comment.
Indeed, the use of the word “microorganisms” would include as well for example symbionts in the digestive tract or cuticula which are not pathogens. We had been unclear in our sentence formulation but were considering those with a potential negative impact. M. Gilliam (Review Gilliam 1997) identified over 6000 organisms/strains with medium culture. In reality it is likely to be much less than previously thought based on sequencing efforts, e.g., for the 16S region of bacteria and via metagenomic approaches (Cox-Foster et al., 2007, Martinson et al, 2011) Current work suggests something like 9-20 primary taxa each in the viruses, bacteria, and protists, and maybe a bit more in fungi with a larger set of incidental saprophytes and pollen/plant-associated microbes, but not into the thousands. We agree nevertheless that “most” would not be appropriate and could be changed for “some” when considering microbes as a whole.
The authors.

No competing interests declared.