Are electrostatic forces involved in pollen transfer?

SARAH A. CORBET, JAMES BEAMENT, D. EISIKOWITCH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract. The measurements of Yes'kov & Sapozhnikov (1976) suggest that electrostatic potentials on foraging honeybees can reach hundreds of volts. Pollen grains of oilseed rape, Brassica napus L., subjected experimentally to potentials of this order, jumped a distance that increased approximately as the square of the voltage, between two pin electrodes on which, in some experiments, were impaled an anther or stigma of oilseed rape or a freshly‐killed honeybee. Most floral surfaces were insulated, but there was a low‐impedance path to earth via the stigma, and the electrostatic field due to an approaching charged bee must therefore concentrate there. Thus, if electrostatic potentials of this magnitude occur in nature they may increase the chance that pollen from bees will reach the stigma rather than other floral surfaces, as well as enabling pollen to jump from anther to bee and from bee to stigma across an air gap of the order of 0.5 mm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-129
Number of pages5
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1982

Keywords

  • Apis mellifera
  • Brassica napus
  • Cruciferae
  • electrostatics
  • honeybee
  • oilseed rape
  • pollen transfer

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