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Pollen as Food for Bees: Diversity, Nutrition, and Contamination

What is the complex role of Bee Nutrition? A Research Topic of Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems addresses this crucial topic

The role of bee nutrition has gained increased attention, also thanks to the rising recognition of the importance of supporting managed and wild bee populations for their critical role in agricultural production and biodiversity. Pollen has long been understood to be the essential primary source of protein, lipids, vitamins and minerals to support bee development and reproduction. However, there's more to this.

The role of pollen for bees hides a multitude of complex questions as we examine how bees nourish themselves by foraging for pollen across landscapes (Stoner et al., 2022), how the collected pollen provides the needed nutrients (Hendriksma et al., 2019), and how nutrition drives bee health in their wide network of environmental interactions (Tosi et al., 2017).

The Research Topic on "Pollen as Food for Bees: Diversity, Nutrition, and Contamination", edited by Stoner, Hendriksma, and Tosi, delves into these complexities.

Their editorial article, introducing this key topic, can be freely read here.


Hendriksma, H. P., Toth, A. L., and Shafir, S. (2019). Individual and colony level foraging decisions of bumble bees and honey bees in relation to balancing of nutrient needs. Front. Ecol. Evol. 7, 177. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00177

Stoner, K.A., Hendriksma, H.P., Tosi, S., 2023. Editorial: Pollen as food for bees: Diversity, nutrition, and contamination. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 6, 13.

Stoner, K. A., Nurse, A., Koethe, R. W., Hatala, M. S., and Lehmann, D. M. (2022). Where does honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) pollen come from? A study of pollen collected from colonies at ornamental plant nurseries. Insects 13, 744. doi: 10.3390/insects13080744

Tosi, S., Nieh, J. C., Sgolastra, F., Cabbri, R., and Medrzycki, P. (2017). Neonicotinoid pesticides and nutritional stress synergistically reduce survival in honey bees. Proc. R. Soc. B. Biol. Sci 284, 20171711. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1711

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