Free Access
Volume 21, Number 2, 1990
Page(s) 89 - 97
Apidologie 21 (1990) 89-97
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19900201

Microorganisms associated with pollen, honey, and brood provisions in the nest of a stingless bee, Melipona fasciata

M. Gilliama, D.W. Roubikb and B.J. Lorenza

a  US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, 2000 East Allen Road, Tucson, Arizona 85719, USA
b  Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, APDO 2072, Balboa, Panamá

Abstract - Spore-forming bacteria belonging to the genus Bacillus were isolated from brood cell provisions, honey from honey storage pots, and pollen from pollen storage pots obtained from a nest of a stingless bee, Melipona fasciata. Bacillus megaterium, B circulans, and B alvei were identified. Few other microorganisms were found. These bacteria produced a variety of enzymes including esterases, lipases, proteases, aminopeptidases, phosphatases, and glycosidases that could convert food into more digestible products for storage. Bacillus species could also secrete chemicals such as antibiotics and fatty acids to inhibit competing microorganisms which could cause spoilage of stored food, particularly in tropical environments.

Key words: Melipona fasciata / Bacillus / microbiology / honey / pollen