Metabolomics Analysis of Pot-Pollen from Three Species of Australian Stingless Bees (Meliponini)

  • Carmelina Flavia MassaroEmail author
  • Tommaso Francesco Villa
  • Caroline Hauxwell


Pot-pollen from Australian stingless bees (Meliponini) was analysed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and secondary metabolites from ethanolic extracts. Samples were harvested from multiple colonies of the species Tetragonula carbonaria (Smith), T. hockingsi (Cockerell) and Austroplebeia australis (Friese) foraging in the same geographic area and season. Comparative analyses were performed by HS-SPME-GC-MS and LC-ESI-HRMS/MS, and statistical variability was assessed by two-way ANOVA and bi-dimensional Principal Component Analysis (PCA). VOCs contain similar mono-sesqui-terpenes across samples, and three VOCs were significantly associated with the pot-pollen of the different bee species: acetic acid was associated with T. hockingsi, p-anisaldehyde with A. australis and a methanone derivative with T. carbonaria. Ethanol extracts of the pot-pollens were not significantly different across bee species and contained glycosyl-flavonoids and phenolics, including traces of secondary metabolites typical of stingless bee propolis. Findings of this work are available as open source interactive data to encourage further collaborative research on pot-pollen of the Australian Meliponini.



The pot-pollen samples were freshly collected from local stingless bee hives and kindly donated by Mr. Robert Luttrell, Highvale, Queensland, Australia. The data reported in this paper were obtained at the Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF) operated by the Institute for Future Environments at Queensland University of Technology. We are thankful to David Marshall at CARF for technical support during the LC-MS analyses and to Fabio Borello for helping with XCMS-PCA analysis. Useful editorial annotations by P. Vit and D.W. Roubik are appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmelina Flavia Massaro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tommaso Francesco Villa
    • 1
  • Caroline Hauxwell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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