University of North Carolina Greensboro News
Dr. Nicholas Oberlies
Dr. Nicholas Oberlies (Chemistry & Biochemistry) received new funding from Project Apis m. for the project “Understanding the effects of commercial pollen substitutes and microalgae-based prebiotic diet additives on the honey bee gut microbiome and metabolome.”
Beekeepers have become reliant on pollen substitute (PS) diets as landscapes shift to agriculturally intensive monocultures that do not meet the nutritional requirements of bees . While current commercial PS diets primarily aim to deliver protein to growing colonies, the remaining macro- and micronutrients required by bees are usually overlooked. Development of PSs for honey bees should aim to not only reproduce the nutrition profile of pollen but also its functional properties beyond primary nutrition. For example, it is largely unknown how artificial diets impact the structure and function and the honey bee microbiome. In order to ensure the iterative improvement of PSs for honey bees, it is important to understand how artificial diets and diet additives influence the microbiome and its functions, which can be considered a direct extension of bee physiology and health.