Abstract

In Brazil, the production of bee pollen loads began modestly in the late 1980s, stimulated by consumption of natural products. Demand and consumption have increased, and there has been no increase in scientific studies. This work aims to expand scientific knowledge by identifying the plants used by Apis mellifera L. as sources of pollen loads in the State of Sergipe, Brazil. Twelve samples were collected from January to December 2011, in the municipalities of Barra dos Coqueiros, Brejo Grande, Estância and Pacatuba, all located in the eastern region of Sergipe. For the study of the pollen grains, the bee pollen underwent the usual laboratory processing techniques (acetolysis). For the analysis 500 grains were counted from each sample and, for botanical identification, the specialised literature and the pollen library were used. A total of 46 pollen types, distributed in 19 families, were found. Fabaceae was the family displaying the greatest diversity of pollen types (19), and the genus Mimosa L. was the most diverse (8). The families Asteraceae, Anacardiaceae, Myrtaceae and Rubiaceae were represented by three pollen types each, and Lamiaceae, only two types. The other 13 families presented one pollen type each. Only eight pollen types were classified as very frequent (> 50%); however, only Cocos nucifera occurred in 100% of the samples. It can be concluded that the families Arecaceae and Fabaceae are the major pollen sources for production of bee pollen in the state of Sergipe, followed by Asteraceae, Anacardiaceae, Poaceae and Rubiaceae. Pollen spectra revealed that at least 29 genera of plants contribute to the bee pollen load production in the tropical rainforest zone in northeastern Brazil.

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