Jessy Praet

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The gut microbiota of pollinators: an unknown and unexplored treasure chest of biodiversity

Pollinators are very important for ecosystem integrity and food supply. However, there is a global decrease in pollinator populations and diversity. This decrease is caused by several factors like emerging pathogens, herbicide and insecticide use and climate change. Bacterial communities in the gut are responsible for a lot of key functions like improvement  of digestion, degradation of toxic compounds and protection against pathogens through direct interaction, colonisation resistance or the immune system. Because of the global decrease of pollinator diversity, it is important to obtain a good knowledge of their gut microbiota and its functionality. Except for the honey bee, the knowledge of the gut microbiota of pollinators is currently very limited. Therefore an inventory will be made of the culturable bacteria in the crop and gut of bumblebees and new species will be described. The metabolic potential of the obtained lactic acid bacteria will also be determined as previous studies revealed their important growth promoting and pathogen inhibiting role.