Presentation Title

Effects of Pesticide Use and Diet on Bee Gut Microbiome

Abstract

Modern agriculture as we experience it today is heavily reliant on the work of pollinators; without them 35% of the food we eat would no longer exist. Of these organisms, bees are among the most important. Unfortunately, bee populations have recently come under threat from colony collapse disorder, and there is still ongoing debate on what factors are to blame. Two potential culprits are poor nutrition and exposure to pesticides. These environmental factors may also impact the gut microbiome of bees which can then alter the function of many biological systems in the bee. This study investigated these 3 intersecting interactions by feeding bees 1 of 3 solutions of varying carbohydrate and protein ratios, and exposing the experimental group to the pesticide imidacloprid. Gut microbiome sample were taken through out the process and analyzed to observe how the types and proportions of different bacterial species varied over the course of the experiment. As this experiment is still ongoing, no results have been reached yet, although prior research suggests that both diet and pesticide exposure can disadvantage specific bacterial species, therefore altering the makeup of the microbiome and ultimately harming the bee.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Sara Helms Cahan

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biology

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Effects of Pesticide Use and Diet on Bee Gut Microbiome

Modern agriculture as we experience it today is heavily reliant on the work of pollinators; without them 35% of the food we eat would no longer exist. Of these organisms, bees are among the most important. Unfortunately, bee populations have recently come under threat from colony collapse disorder, and there is still ongoing debate on what factors are to blame. Two potential culprits are poor nutrition and exposure to pesticides. These environmental factors may also impact the gut microbiome of bees which can then alter the function of many biological systems in the bee. This study investigated these 3 intersecting interactions by feeding bees 1 of 3 solutions of varying carbohydrate and protein ratios, and exposing the experimental group to the pesticide imidacloprid. Gut microbiome sample were taken through out the process and analyzed to observe how the types and proportions of different bacterial species varied over the course of the experiment. As this experiment is still ongoing, no results have been reached yet, although prior research suggests that both diet and pesticide exposure can disadvantage specific bacterial species, therefore altering the makeup of the microbiome and ultimately harming the bee.