scientists discover gut bacteria that improve memory in bees
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

An international research team have discovered a specific type of gut bacteria in bees that can improve memory.

The study, led by scientists from Jiangnan University, China in collaboration with researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Oulu, Finland, have shown that a species of gut bacteria, known as Lactobacillus apis, is linked to enhanced memory in bumblebees.

The researchers show that bumblebees with more of this type of bacteria in their guts have a better memory than individuals with fewer bacteria. Bumblebees that ate food containing more of this species of gut bacteria were also found to have more long-lasting memories than individuals with normal diets.

To test the bees’ memory and learning abilities, the researchers created different colored artificial flowers; five colors were associated with sweet sucrose solution and the other five with a bitter tasting solution containing quinine, a repellent for bees. The researchers then observed how quickly the bees were able to learn which colors were associated with a sugar reward, and if they were able to retain this information in a follow-up test three days later. By sequencing gut samples from the bees, they were then able to compare individual differences in bumblebees learning and memory abilities with the levels of different bacteria found in their gut.

To confirm that the numbers of Lactobacillus apis in the gut were directly responsible for the observed differences in memory, the researchers added these bacteria to the bumblebees’ diet and measured their responses to the same task.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, adds to growing evidence that the gut microbiome—the trillions of microbes that live in our intestines—can affect animal behavior.

Bees’ cognitive abilities vary across individuals and they have a relatively small community of gut microorganisms compared with mammals, making them ideal models to explore the role of specific gut bacteria on differences in cognition between individuals.

The researchers suggest observed variations in the microbiome across individual bumblebees could arise from differences or changes in nest environment, activities, pathogens, social interactions, and pollination environment.

Dr. Li Li, Lead author of the study and postdoctoral Researcher at Jiangnan University, said: “Our results suggest not only that the natural variation in the amount of a specific gut bacterium effects memory, but also show a causal link—that by adding the same bacterial species to a bee’s diet can enhance their memories.”

“Further research will be required to determine if and which bacteria species might have the same effect in humans. But our work has shone a bright light on this possibility.”

Professor Lars Chittka from Queen Mary University of London and co-author of the study, said, “This is a fascinating finding that could apply to humans as well as to bees. Our findings add to growing evidence of the importance of gut-brain interactions in animals and provide insights into the cause of cognitive differences in natural bumblebee populations.”

Professor Wei Zhao, corresponding author and Head of the Enzymology lab at Jiangnan University, said: “It’s amazing to find out the specific memory-enhancing bacteria species. The results further validate our belief that we may improve our cognitive ability via the regulation of gut microbiota.” More information: Gut microbiome drives individual memory variation in bumblebees, Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-26833-4 Journal information: Nature Communications

Provided by Queen Mary, University of London Citation: Scientists discover gut bacteria that improve memory in bees (2021, November 25) retrieved 25 November 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-11-scientists-gut-bacteria-memory-bees.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Fire Pro Wrestling World (for PC)

Good (3.5) Bottom Line Fire Pro Wrestling World is a Steam Early Access project, but its combination of classic gameplay and contemporary PC game features make it a promising wrestling title even in unfinished form. US Street Price$19.99 Pros Unparalleled character-creation tools. Wonderfully paced matches. Excellent Steam Workshop integration. ...

View more: Fire Pro Wrestling World (for PC)

Every move you make... Amazon is watching you

VIRGINIA (REUTERS) – As a Virginia lawmaker, Dr Ibraheem Samirah has studied Internet privacy issues and debated how to regulate tech firms’ collection of personal data. Still, he was stunned to learn the full details of the information that Amazon.com has collected on him. The e-commerce giant had more ...

View more: Every move you make... Amazon is watching you

Insurers shy away from ransomware cover as losses mount

LONDON (REUTERS) – Insurers have halved the amount of cyber cover they provide to customers after the coronavirus pandemic and home working drove a surge in ransomware attacks that left them smarting from hefty payouts. Faced with increased demand, major European and United States insurers and syndicates operating in ...

View more: Insurers shy away from ransomware cover as losses mount

Xenobots: Team builds first living robots that can reproduce

An AI-designed, Pac-Man-shaped “parent” organism (in red) beside stem cells that have been compressed into a ball—the “offspring” (green). Credit: Douglas Blackiston and Sam Kriegman To persist, life must reproduce. Over billions of years, organisms have evolved many ways of replicating, from budding plants to sexual animals to invading ...

View more: Xenobots: Team builds first living robots that can reproduce

Study outlines challenges to ongoing clean-up of burnt and unburnt nurdles along Sri Lanka's coastline

A handful of nurdles, or preproduction plastic material. Credit: Asha de Vos When a fire broke out on the deck of the M/V XPress Pearl cargo ship on May 20, 2021, an estimated 70-75 billion pellets of preproduction plastic material, known as nurdles, spilled into the ocean and along ...

View more: Study outlines challenges to ongoing clean-up of burnt and unburnt nurdles along Sri Lanka's coastline

Louisiana: 'The vaccination rate is not what it needs to be,' lieutenant governor says

Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser joins Yahoo Finance to discuss tourism, the state’s economic recovery, and vaccination rates.

View more: Louisiana: 'The vaccination rate is not what it needs to be,' lieutenant governor says

MPs support renewable home heating ‘revolution’

© Getty There is broad support among MPs for greater levels of small-scale renewable home heating technologies – Getty There is cross-party support for stronger government policy and increased funding for renewable heating technologies for new and existing homes to help the UK hit net zero targets, a poll ...

View more: MPs support renewable home heating ‘revolution’

BP to build a second hydrogen production facility on Teesside

© Provided by This Is Money MailOnline logo Oil supermajor BP has announced plans to develop another hydrogen production facility on Teesside. The company said ‘HyGreen Teesside’ would help bring the region closer to becoming the UK’s first major hydrogen production hub while simultaneously regenerating the area. It hopes ...

View more: BP to build a second hydrogen production facility on Teesside

13 Things You Didn't Know Apple's Notes App Could Do

Researchers propose a simpler design for quantum computers

Steam disinfection of baby bottle nipples exposes babies and the environment to micro- and nanoplastic particles

A catalytic recipe for transforming quantum states

Uncovering a promising use case for exosomes

Satellites reveal Arctic rivers are changing faster than we thought

Sonos may be working on a mini subwoofer

White House says U.S. agencies can delay punishing unvaccinated federal workers

1More ColorBuds 2

Scientists developed ‘living robots’ that reproduce

TikTok found a crazy hidden iPhone feature and people can’t believe it’s real

Cyber Monday: 'Toys and electronics' may be harder to find 'because of the microchip shortage'

OTHER TECH NEWS

;