Biodiv Sci ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (5): 557-566.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019021

Special Issue: 昆虫多样性与生态功能

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A curated 16S rRNA reference database for the classification of honeybee and bumblebee gut microbiota

Zhang Xue1,Li Xing’an2,Su Qinzhi1,Cao Qina1,Li Chenyi1,Niu Qingsheng2,*(),Zheng Hao1,*()   

  1. 1 Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Food Nutrition and Human Health, College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083
    2 Provincial Key Laboratory of Bee Genetics and Breeding, Apiculture Science Institute of Jilin Province, Jilin City, Jilin Province 132108
  • Received:2019-01-25 Accepted:2019-05-07 Online:2019-05-20 Published:2019-05-20
  • Contact: Niu Qingsheng,Zheng Hao


Honey and bumble bees are import pollinators, playing significant roles in the agricultural industry and maintaining the bio-ecosystem balance. Recently, it was found that the bees harbor a simple, yet specific gut microbiota. The normal bee gut microbiota makes essential contributions to host growth, endocrine signaling, and pathogen resistance. With the development of high through-put sequencing technology, researchers can now quickly identify the gut community structure for a low cost. This is helpful for biodiversity, conservation and bee health studies. However, the currently-used 16S rRNA databases are not specific enough to classify the bee gut microbiota properly. Many of the specific bacteria that enrich the gut of Apis cerana are in the genus Apibacter. Here, we isolated Apibacter species from A. cerana collected in five provinces of China, and added them to the current SILVA database. We also curated the nomenclature of some existing sequences and re-classified them in the updated database. Based on the analysis of the 16S rRNA sequencing data from one A. cerana and one Apis mellifera sample, our Bee Gut Microbiota-Database (BGM-Db) offers a more accurate classification of bee gut microbiota at a higher resolution than either the SILVA or Ribosomal Database Project (RDP) database.

Key words: honey bee, gut microbiota, high-throughput sequencing, database, 16S rRNA