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Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI)
Federal Research Centre
for Cultivated Plants

Dr. Jens Pistorius

Messeweg 11/12
38104 Braunschweig, Germany

Kerstin Geißler
Tel: +49(0)531 299-4201
Fax: +49(0)531 299-3028
bs@  julius-kuehn.  de

Königin-Luise-Straße 19
14195 Berlin, Germany

Institute booklet


The focus of the research lies on current ecotoxicological and the ecological topics, both for honey bees and wild bees in agricultural landscapes. The Institute investigates potential risks to bees with special consideration of the risks from the use of plant protection products and biocides; special emphasis is research on product-independent, generic aspects (e.g. risks from dust drift and guttation of systemic and non-systemic seed treatments, tank mixtures, effects on different bee species).
One focus of the Institute is the development and improvement of new assessment- and evaluation methods, on advancements of standardized experimental designs for the risk evaluation and their implementation as guidelines on a national and international level.
Focuses of ecotoxicological research are issues related to the risk assessment methodology, risk evaluation und the investigation of suspected bee poisoning incidents, such as:

  • Comparative investigation of the  effects of neonicotinoid substances by seed treatments via systematic residues in pollen and nectar to honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees
  • Residues, metabolism and degradation of active substances in nectar, pollen from systemic seed treatments and spray applications; residues in bee tissues in alive and dead bees with suspected intoxication
  • Dust abrasion and effects of dust drift guttation, systemically translocated residues in nectar and pollen of seed treated plants,  residues following topical application of systemic and non- systemic substances, spray drift from spraying in different crops and exposure of bees in different crops
  • Model testing for various analytical issues (e.g. stability of active substances in and on contaminated and intoxicated dead and alive bees and treated plants; establishment, refinement and validation of analytical methods (LC/MS/MS, GC/MS und GC/MS/MS).
  • Establishment, improvement and validation of analytical methods; installation and maintenance of a database by mass spectrometric analysis (LC/MS/MS, GC/MS and GC/MS/MS)

As a new workscope, the Institute will investigate the impacts how structuring and composition of  especially agricultural landscapes and also urban areas impact health, performance and vitality of managed honey bees and all other wild bees, both on the individual and the population level. Thereby research should be centred on investigations which measures have positive influence on honey bees, wild bees or the bee diversity, e.g. setting cross-linked habitats with near-natural vegetation and flowering strips, with the aim of identifying crop- and landscape specific measures to improve the well being and protection of bees in agricultural-, horticultural or forestral cropping systems. These results are intended to provide the scientific basis for future measures to promote, foster and fund affirmative action for appropriate habitats with sufficient forage and nesting resources.