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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321486

Title: Two gut community enterotypes recur in diverse bumblebee species

item LI, JILIAN - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item POWELL, J. ELIJAH - University Of Texas
item GUO, JUN - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item Evans, Jay
item WU, JIE - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item WILLIAMS, PAUL - Natural History Museum - London
item LIN, QINHUI - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item MORAN, NANCY - University Of Texas
item ZHANG, ZHIGANG - Chinese Academy Of Sciences

Submitted to: Current Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2015
Publication Date: 7/31/2015
Citation: Li, J., Powell, J., Guo, J., Evans, J.D., Wu, J., Williams, P., Lin, Q., Moran, N.A., Zhang, Z. 2015. Two gut community enterotypes recur in diverse bumblebee species. Current Biology. 25:R652-R653.

Interpretive Summary: Both honey bees and bumble bees are key pollinators in agriculture. Understanding pollinator health requires an understanding of the microbes, good and bad, carried by bees. Using novel sequencing techniques we are now able to identify the complete sets of bacteria carried in the digestive tracts of bees. Surprisingly, some bumble bees carry distinctly different sets of bacteria than others. These results have implications for bee nutrition and can lead to management changes by beekeepers, including probiotic supplements, that improve bee health.

Technical Abstract: Pollinating insects are key to the evolutionary and ecological success of flowering plants and enable much of the diversity in the human diet. Gut microbial communities likely impact pollinators in diverse ways, from nutrition to defense against disease. Honeybees and bumblebees harbor a simple yet specialized gut microbiota dominated by several newly described bacterial species, including Gilliamella apicola, Frischella perrara , Snodgrassella alvi and specialized species of Lactobacillus. These bacterial groups are absent from the guts of other bees studied to date.