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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Tucson, Arizona » Honey Bee Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329266

Research Project: Understanding Honey Bee Microbiota to Improve Bee Nutrition and Colony Health

Location: Honey Bee Research

Title: Diet-related gut bacterial dysbiosis correlates with impaired development and increased mortality in the honey bee (Apis mellifera)

Author
item Maes, Patrick - University Of Arizona
item Rodrigues, Pedro - University Of Arizona
item Oliver, Randy - Non ARS Employee
item Mott, Brendon
item Anderson, Kirk

Submitted to: Molecular Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2016
Publication Date: 11/1/2016
Citation: Maes, P., Rodrigues, P., Oliver, R., Mott, B.M., Anderson, K.E. 2016. Diet-related gut bacterial dysbiosis correlates with impaired development and increased mortality in the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Molecular Ecology. 25(21):5439-5450. doi: 10.1111/mec.13862.

Interpretive Summary: Bacteria in the guts of animals often play critical roles in health. The change in bacterial species in the gut can be associated with a variety of disease states. Here we determined the effect of nutrient source on gut bacterial composition of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). We provided caged bees with naturally collected pollen and pollen substitute, both fresh and aged, then recorded host development and bacterial community composition of four nutrient-processing host tissues. Feeding fresh pollen or fresh substitute, we found no difference in host mortality, consumption rate, development, or bacterial species. In contrast, bees fed an aged diet differed markedly from those fed fresh diet, suffered impaired development and increased mortality, and developed a significantly different bacterial species composition throughout the gut. Consumption of an aged diet resulted in a significant reduction of the hindgut bacterium Snodgrassella alvi and a corresponding increase of opportunistic pathogen Frischella perrara. Moreover, the relative abundance of S. alvi in the hindgut was positively correlated with host survival and development. The inverse was true for F. perrara, reinforcing its role as an opportunistic gut pathogen. Echoing results from bumble bees, Parasacharibacter apium was also associated with negative host effects in general. Collectively, our findings suggest that the early establishment of S. alvi is associated with healthy nurse development, due to the exclusion of F. perrara and P. apium from the hindgut. Our findings provide insight into the role nutrition plays in host health and the establishment of characeristic gut bacteria.

Technical Abstract: The importance of gut microbial communities for animal health has become increasingly clear. Early gut succession and diet-related shifts in bacterial community composition can be associated with a variety of acute and chronic diseases. Here we determined the effect of host niche and nutrient source on gut bacterial composition of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). We provided caged bees with naturally collected pollen and pollen substitute, both fresh and aged, then recorded host development and bacterial community composition of four nutrient-processing host niches. Feeding fresh pollen or fresh substitute, we found no difference in host mortality, consumption rate, development, or microbial community composition. In contrast, bees fed an aged diet differed markedly from those fed fresh diet, suffered impaired development and increased mortality, and developed a significantly different microbiome throughout the alimentary tract. Consumption of an aged diet resulted in a significant reduction of the core ileum bacterium Snodgrassella alvi and a corresponding increase of opportunistic pathogen Frischella perrara. Moreover, the relative abundance of S. alvi in the ileum was positively correlated with host survival and development. The inverse was true for F. perrara, reinforcing its role as an opportunistic gut pathogen. Echoing results from bumble bees, Parasacharibacter apium was also associated with negative host effects in general. Collectively, our findings suggest that the early establishment of S. alvi is associated with healthy nurse development, due to the exclusion of F. perrara and P. apium from the ileum. The pattern of dysbiosis in the ileum was reflected in the rectum, mouthparts and hypopharyngeal glands, suggesting a systemic physiological effect. Our findings provide insight into the role nutrition plays in host health and the establishment of a characeristic gut microbiome.