Plant biodiversity is crucial to satisfy the trophic needs of pollinators, mainly through nectar and pollen rewards. However, a few studies have been directed to ascertain the intraspecific variation of chemical features and the nutritional value of nectar and pollen floral rewards in relation to the alteration of landscapes due to human activities. In this study, by using an existing scenario of land use gradients as an open air laboratory, we tested the variation in pollen and nectar nutrient profiles along gradients of urbanization and agriculture intensity, by focusing on sugar, aminoacids of nectar and phytochemicals of pollen from local wild plants. We also highlighted bioactive compounds from plants primary and secondary metabolism due to their importance for insect wellbeing and pollinator health. We surveyed 7 different meadow species foraged by pollinators and common in the main land uses studied. The results indicated that significant variations of nutritional components occur in relation to different land uses, and specifically that the agricultural intensification decreases the sugars and increases the antioxidant content of flower rewards, while the urbanization is positively associated with the total flavonoid content in pollen. These effects are more evident in some species than in others, such as Lotus corniculatus L. (Fabaceae) and Malva sylvestris L. (Malvaceae), as shown by the untargeted metabolomic investigation. This study is crucial for understanding the nutritional landscape quality for pollinators in association to different land uses and sets a base for landscape management and planning of pollinator-friendly strategies by improving the quality of plant rewards to provide benefits to pollinator health in various environmental contexts.

Land use influences the nutrient concentration and composition of pollen and nectar rewards of wildflowers in human-dominated landscapes

Celano, Rita;Piccinelli, Anna Lisa;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Plant biodiversity is crucial to satisfy the trophic needs of pollinators, mainly through nectar and pollen rewards. However, a few studies have been directed to ascertain the intraspecific variation of chemical features and the nutritional value of nectar and pollen floral rewards in relation to the alteration of landscapes due to human activities. In this study, by using an existing scenario of land use gradients as an open air laboratory, we tested the variation in pollen and nectar nutrient profiles along gradients of urbanization and agriculture intensity, by focusing on sugar, aminoacids of nectar and phytochemicals of pollen from local wild plants. We also highlighted bioactive compounds from plants primary and secondary metabolism due to their importance for insect wellbeing and pollinator health. We surveyed 7 different meadow species foraged by pollinators and common in the main land uses studied. The results indicated that significant variations of nutritional components occur in relation to different land uses, and specifically that the agricultural intensification decreases the sugars and increases the antioxidant content of flower rewards, while the urbanization is positively associated with the total flavonoid content in pollen. These effects are more evident in some species than in others, such as Lotus corniculatus L. (Fabaceae) and Malva sylvestris L. (Malvaceae), as shown by the untargeted metabolomic investigation. This study is crucial for understanding the nutritional landscape quality for pollinators in association to different land uses and sets a base for landscape management and planning of pollinator-friendly strategies by improving the quality of plant rewards to provide benefits to pollinator health in various environmental contexts.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4853512
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