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The Case of the Missing Bees

High Fructose Corn Syrup and Colony Collapse Disorder



Co Authors:

Jeffri C. Bohlscheid
Food Group Technical Center
J. R. Simplot
jeff.bohlscheid@simplot.com

Frank J. Dinan
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Canisius College
dinan@canisius.edu

Abstract:

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has claimed approximately one-third of the commercial honeybee population in recent years. A number of causes have been suggested for this phenomenon, including the consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by the bees. This directed case investigates the issues and chemistry that might be involved in CCD related to HFCS. The case was developed for use in an undergraduate organic chemistry or food chemistry course.

Objectives:
  • To familiarize students with the methods by which rigorous and less rigorous scientific research is conducted.
  • To illustrate the difficulties involved in establishing a single cause for a vitally important scientific question.
  • To allow students to see the difficulties that arise when "spin" is used to cast doubt on scientific research and its conclusions.
  • To let students critically evaluate the conclusions drawn by diverse groups of people who all have access to the same data.
Keywords: Bees; honeybee; colony collapse disorder; fructose; corn syrup; HFCS-55; 5-hydoxymethylfurfural; HMF; sucrose; sugar; starch; monosaccharides; hydrolysis; enol-keto tautomerization; enzymes; beekeeping; apiculture; Corn Refiners Association; insects
Topical Area: Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Directed
Language: English
Subject Headings: Organic Chemistry   Biochemistry   Chemistry (General)   Food Science / Technology   Agriculture   Nutrition   Biology (General)   Science (General)   Botany / Plant Science   Toxicology  
Date Posted: 1/28/2011
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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