News Archives: GPRC's NBDC Part of International Solution
Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Ever since the GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) opened in 2012, it has received international attention as one of a handful of facilities worldwide which are working to solve health challenges in honeybee populations. Now a Memorandum of Agreement which Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) has signed with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre strengthens the connection between the two North American facilities.
This agreement is to "initiate and develop cooperation between the units and to share expertise and techniques related to honey bee pest, pathogen and parasite diagnostics".
The NBDC, built at the Beaverlodge Research Farm and operated by GPRC through its Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI), is a partnership with Agriculture and AgriFood Canada and the beekeeping industry. Funding from Western Economic Diversification and the Rural Alberta Development Fund launched the project in 2011, and the facility is now a state-of-the- art laboratory offering comprehensive diagnostic services to the Canadian beekeeping industry and the bee research community.
“This is underlines what an important facility the NBDC is for our region and for our country,” says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO of GPRC. “This is a national facility, housed right here in the Peace region where it will serve not only the local beekeeping industry but beekeepers throughout Canada and the world. This opens the door to enormous potential for the future, including applied research in support of industry.”
The agreement includes a training component with the short-term exchange of personnel: diagnostic technician Ms. Patricia Wolf Veiga just returned from a week of training on specific molecular techniques for the quantification of bee viruses. “This experience will help the NBDC to harmonize our methods with those used in Beltsville,” says Dr. Carlos Castillo, Applied Scientist Manager for NBDC Technology Access Centre (TAC). “Our two facilities will share expertise and techniques related to honey bee pest, pathogen and parasite diagnostics.”
The services currently available at NBDC include: Nosema Spore Counts and identification, Varroa Count, Tracheal Mite Detection, EFB detection, AFB Detection and Antibiotic Resistance determination, and Virus Detection.
"This is an important new development for the NBDC-TAC,” says Bruce Rutley, CRI Director. “The leading laboratory in the US (USDA Beltsville) now formally recognizes the role of the NBDC within Canada and as one of the International Laboratories working diligently to solve the question: why are the bees dying?”
“GPRC is very proud to host a research centre of this international caliber,” says Susan Bansgrove, GPRC Vice-President Academics and Research. “The NBDC Technology Access Centre provides research opportunities for faculty and students while meeting a very real need within the beekeeping industry of our region – a region which produces a high percentage of all Canadian honey. It was an honour to sign this agreement on behalf of our College, our region, and our country.”