Brenda Rascon, a doctoral student with Gro Amdam, an associate professor in Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and colleagues tested the effects of resveratrol on the lifespan, learning ability, and food perception in honey bees.
The findings, published in the journal Aging, confirmed not only does this compound extend the lifespan of honey bees by 33 percent to 38 percent, it also changes the decisions that bees make about food by triggering a "moderation effect" when they eat.
The research team discovered bees given resveratrol were less sensitive to sugar. They used different sugar solutions -- some very diluted and some with stronger concentrations -- and found the bees receiving resveratrol were not as interested in eating the sugar solutions unless the sugar was highly concentrated.
In a final experiment, the team measured how much food the bees would consume if given the opportunity to eat as much sugar water as they wanted.
"The bees were allowed to eat as much as they pleased and were certainly not starving -- they simply would not gorge on the food that we know they like. It's possible resveratrol may be working by some mechanism that is related to caloric restriction -- a dietary regimen long-known to extend lifespan in diverse organisms," Rascon said in a statement.