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Title: Nectar compounds impact bacterial and fungal growth and shift community dynamics in a nectar analog

Floral nectar is frequently colonised by microbes. However, nectar microbial communities are typically species‐poor and dominated by few cosmopolitan genera. One hypothesis is that nectar constituents may act as environmental filters. We tested how five non‐sugar nectar compounds as well as elevated sugar impacted the growth of 12 fungal and bacterial species isolated from nectar, pollinators, and the environment. We hypothesised that nectar isolated microbes would have the least growth suppression. Additionally, to test if nectar compounds could affect the outcome of competition between microbes, we grew a subset of microbes in co‐culture across a subset of treatments. We found that some compounds such as H2O2suppressed microbial growth across many but not all microbes tested. Other compounds were more specialised in the microbes they impacted. As hypothesised, the nectar specialist yeastMetschnikowia reukaufiiwas unaffected by most nectar compounds assayed. However, many non‐nectar specialist microbes remained unaffected by nectar compounds thought to reduce microbial growth. Our results show that nectar chemistry can influence microbial communities but that microbe‐specific responses to nectar compounds are common. Nectar chemistry also affected the outcome of species interactions among microbial taxa, suggesting that non‐sugar compounds can affect microbial community assembly in flowers.

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Award ID(s):
1846266 1929499 1929516
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Environmental Microbiology Reports
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 170-180
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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