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Data from: Pre-infection effects of nectar secondary compounds on a bumble bee gut pathogen


Michaud, Kristen; Irwin, Rebecca; Barber, Nicholas; Adler, Lynn (2019), Data from: Pre-infection effects of nectar secondary compounds on a bumble bee gut pathogen, Dryad, Dataset,


Bumble bee pollinators can be exposed to pathogens when foraging on flowers previously visited by infected individuals. Infectious cells may be deposited in floral nectar, providing a site for pathogens to interact with nectar secondary compounds prior to infecting bees. Some nectar secondary compounds can reduce pathogen counts in infected bumble bees, but we know less about how exposure to these compounds directly affects pathogens prior to being ingested by their host. We exposed the trypanosomatid gut pathogen, Crithidia bombi (Trypanosomatida: Trypanosomatidae), to six different compounds found in nectar (aucubin, catalpol, nicotine, thymol, anabasine, and citric acid) for one hour prior to ingestion by Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae) workers that were then reared for one week on a control diet. All of these compounds except citric acid reduce pathogen levels when consumed in hosts after infection, and citric acid is a common preservative found in citrus fruits and some honeys. We found that both citric acid and aucubin reduced Crithidia cell counts compared to controls. However, catalpol, nicotine, thymol, and anabasine did not have significant effects on Crithidia levels. These results suggest that Crithidia exposure in some floral nectars may reduce cell viability, resulting in a lower risk to visiting pollinators, but this effect may not be widespread across all flowering species

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National Science Foundation, Award: NSF-DEB-1258096