The effect of carbohydrate sources: Sucrose, invert sugar and components of mānuka honey, on core bacteria in the digestive tract of adult honey bees (Apis mellifera)

Autoři: Michelle A. Taylor aff001;  Alastair W. Robertson aff002;  Patrick J. Biggs aff003;  Kate K. Richards aff005;  Daniel F. Jones aff006;  Shanthi G. Parkar aff007
Působiště autorů: Bee Biology & Productivity, Productive Biodiversity and Pollination, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Hamilton, New Zealand aff001;  Wildlife & Ecology, School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand aff002;  Molecular Epidemiology & Public Health Laboratory, Infectious Disease Research Centre, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand aff003;  Bioinformatics and Statistics Group, School of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand aff004;  Statistical Science, Data Science, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Auckland, New Zealand aff005;  Bioinformatics, Molecular & Digital Breeding, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Auckland, New Zealand aff006;  Microbiome & Metabolism, Food Nutrition & Health, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Palmerston North, New Zealand aff007
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


Bacteria within the digestive tract of adult honey bees are likely to play a key role in the digestion of sugar-rich foods. However, the influence of diet on honey bee gut bacteria is not well understood. During periods of low floral abundance, beekeepers often supplement the natural sources of carbohydrate that honey bees collect, such as nectar, with various forms of carbohydrates such as sucrose (a disaccharide) and invert sugar (a mixture of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose). We compared the effect of these sugar supplements on the relative abundance of bacteria in the gut of bees by feeding bees from a single colony, two natural diets: mānuka honey, a monofloral honey with known antibacterial properties, and a hive diet; and artificial diets of invert sugar, sucrose solution, and sucrose solutions containing synthesised compounds associated with the antibacterial properties of mānuka honey. 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)-based sequencing showed that dietary regimes containing mānuka honey, sucrose and invert sugar did not alter the relative abundance of dominant core bacteria after 6 days of being fed these diets. However, sucrose-rich diets increased the relative abundances of three sub-dominant core bacteria, Rhizobiaceae, Acetobacteraceae, and Lactobacillus kunkeei, and decreased the relative abundance of Frischella perrara, all which significantly altered the bacterial composition. Acetogenic bacteria from the Rhizobiaceae and Acetobacteraceae families increased two- to five-fold when bees were fed sucrose. These results suggest that sucrose fuels the proliferation of specific low abundance primary sucrose-feeders, which metabolise sugars into monosaccharides, and then to acetate.

Klíčová slova:

Bacteria – Bees – Carbohydrates – Diet – Honey – Honey bees – Lactobacillus – Sucrose


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