Updated: 19 June 2022 23:36 IST
Washington [US]June 19 (ANI): The local environment plays a crucial role in health and diversity in intestinal microbiome of wild bees that can help detect invisible stressors and early indicators of potential threats, say researchers from York University in a new study.
The results were published in the journal Communications Biology.
By piloting a new frontier of metagenomics, the researchers sequenced the entire genome from three species of carp, a type of wild bee, in North America, Asia and Australia. This analysis enabled them to gain insights into bees intestinal microbiome (bacteria and fungi), diet and viral load, as well as their environmental DNA.
Unlike social bees (such as honey bees and bumblebees), researchers found that solitary bees get their microbiome, which is important for health, from their environment where they forge for food, rather than inheriting it from their book mates. Carpenters dig into woody stalks to lay eggs rather than in hives.
“This can make them better bioindicators because they are much more sensitive to their environment,” says Sandra Rehan, associate professor of science at the Faculty of Science.
In Australia, the local population had very distinct metagenomics and microbiomes; so much so that machine learning tools could reliably predict from which population each bee was drawn.
The research group also discovered plant pathogens in carpenter’s microbiomes that were previously only found in honey bees.
“These pathogens are not necessarily harmful to bees, but these wild bees can potentially spread diseases that can have adverse effects on agriculture,” says Rehan. Finding out how these pathogens spread in wild bees is important because bees contribute to ecological and agricultural health worldwide in addition to more than $ 200 billion in annual agricultural services.
Establishing a baseline for what a healthy microbiome looks like in wild bees enables researchers to compare species across continents and populations and find out how diseases and harmful microbiota are introduced and transmitted.
“We can really dissect bee health in a very systematic way to look at population genetics and parasitic pathogen loads, healthy microbiomes and abnormalities, “says Rehan, whose postdoctoral research assistant, Wyatt Shell, led the study.” The long-term goal is really to be able to use these tools to detect early signs of stress and habitats in need of restoration or preservation. To develop it almost as a diagnostic tool for bee health. “
Researchers believe that they have captured the nuclear microbiome of carpenters for the first time. They found beneficial bacteria in all three carpenter species that helped with metabolic and genetic functions. They also discovered species of Lactobacillus, which is an important beneficial bacterial group, absolutely necessary for good intestinal health and found in most car lines. Lactobacillus can protect against common fungal pathogens, strengthen the immune system and facilitate nutrient uptake.
However, a recently published article in the journal Environmental DNA by Rehan and her doctoral student Phuong Nguyen, the development microbiome of the small carpenter, Ceratina calcarata, who studied the microbiome of fry and adult carp in cities, found that they lacked Lactobacillus.
“This raises red flags,” says Rehan. “We continue these studies to look at more nuanced comparisons in urban, rural and long-term data to truly understand these environmental stressors. Every time we characterize a microbiome and see deviations from what we know is normal, it can give us an indication of a population or species that is endangered. “
Taken together, the results show that metagenomic methods can provide important insights into the ecology and health of wild bees in the future.
“We have piloted this research method for a few species, but we aim to study dozens of wild bee species and broader comparisons will come. These two studies really lay the foundation,” she says. “The long-term goal is really to be able to use these tools to detect early signs of stress in wild bees and thereby identify habitats in need of restoration or conservation. We are happy to build the tools for a new era of wild bees. Research and conservation . ” (ANI)
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