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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #408083

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Microbiological and chemical characterization of water kefir: an innovative source of probiotics for bee nutrition

item RODRIGUEZ, MARIA - Universidad Nacional Del Sur (UNS)
item FERNANDEZ, LETICIA - Universidad Nacional Del Sur (UNS)
item DIAZ, MARINA - Universidad Nacional Del Sur (UNS)
item PEREZ, MONICA - Universidad Nacional Del Sur (UNS)
item Corona, Miguel
item REYNALDI, FRANCISCO - Universidad De La Plata

Submitted to: Revista Argentina de Microbiología
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/28/2022
Publication Date: 12/5/2023
Citation: Rodriguez, M.A., Fernandez, L.A., Diaz, M.L., Perez, M., Corona, M.V., Reynaldi, F.J. 2023. Microbiological and chemical characterization of water kefir: an innovative source of probiotics for bee nutrition. Revista Argentina de Microbiología. 55:176-180.

Interpretive Summary: Bacterial and yeast species constituting honey bee gut microbiota provide vital nutrients that improve honey bee nutrition and strength its immune and detoxification systems. The beekeeping industry is interested in the search for beneficial microorganisms (probiotics), especially those of easy cultivation. Kefir is a fermented beverage with multiple benefits for human health, which is produced by the metabolism of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts. In this study, we evaluate the inhibitory effect of bacterial and yeast isolates from Kefir on honey bee pathogens, including Paenibacillus larvae and Ascosphaera apis. These pathogens are the etiological agents of American foulbrood and chalkbrood, two important honey bee diseases. We identified eleven bacterial and yeast strains that inhibit the growth of these bee pathogens. In conclusion, we isolated and characterized multiple potential Kefir probiotics to improve bee nutrition and resistance to diseases.

Technical Abstract: We evaluated the microbial composition of water kefir grains and beverages over one year to determine whether the number and type of microorganisms changed. Bacteria and yeast colonies with different morphologies were isolated from water kefir, and their antimicrobial activity was evaluated against Paenibacillus larvae and Ascosphaera apis. Chemical characterization of kefir was also carried out. Our results confirmed that bacteria and yeasts were more numerous in kefir grains than in the beverage. The counts of microorganisms declined, although an important microbial community remained in kefir after the long storage period. Eleven strains that inhibited bee pathogens were isolated from kefir. Genotypic results demonstrated that these isolates included Lentilactobacillus hilgardii, Lentilactobacillus buchneri and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Thus, water kefir may be an innovative source of potential probiotic strains for bee nutrition to control honeybee diseases.