Scientists from Jiangnan University found out a species of gut bacteria named Lactobacillus apis can improve memory in bumblebees. Their research shows that bumblebees with more Lactobacillus apis in their guts have better memory than the bees with less Lactobacillus apis.
To conduct their test, the researchers created different coloured artificial flowers. They created five coloured artificial flowers that were related to sweet sucrose solution and another five artificial flowers with bitter tasting solution containing quinine.
The researchers noticed, bees with more gut samples are able to define the different testing artificial flowers after three days while bees with less gut samples could not. This test helped the researchers to define the bees’ memory and learning abilities depending on the particular bacteria.
This finding stresses upon the trillions of microbes that live inside our intestines, have their effects on our behaviour.
Bees have relatively small community of gut microorganisms than any other mammal which makes it ideal to explore the role of specific gut bacteria on the cognition of individuals.
Researchers also suggested that variations in the microbiome in individual bees can arise from several changes such as changes in nest environment, social interactions and pathogens.