The lactic acid bacteria involved in the production of bee pollen and bee bread.
Alejandra Vásquez and Tobias C. Olofsson
Recently a large flora of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) was identified in the honey stomach of the honey bee Apis mellifera. In this study, the presence of this flora in bee pollen and bee bread was investigated. Pollen was collected from the legs of honey bees, and both two week old and two month old bee bread were also obtained for the study. Bacterial isolates cultivated from these bee products were identified using 16S rRNA gene analyzes. The majority of the honey stomach LAB flora was recovered in a viable state from both the pollen and the two week old bee bread, but not from the two month old bee bread. It is demonstrated for the first time that bee bread is probably fermented by the honey stomach LAB flora that has been added to the pollen via regurgitated nectar from the honey stomach. This discovery helps to explain how honey bees standardize the production of bee bread and how it is stored. The presence of the honey stomach LAB and its antimicrobial substances in bee bread also suggests a possible role in the defence against honey bee diseases since the bee bread is consumed by both the larvae and the adult bees.