Food for Thought

AGH BUMBLEBEES!! Forgot the yogurt again!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science… saying…

Ever wish you could add another memory card to your brain before grocery shopping? 

Enter Li Li from Jiangnan University and team. They wondered if a GUT CHECK could improve memory… in bumble bees. 

The researchers tested almost seventy bees. Half had a regular diet, while the rest ate one enriched with gut bacteria — the kind of microorganisms found in yogurt and kimchi. 

The team used different colored artificial flowers to test bee memory. Some colors were associated with sweet water, the others with bitter. Could bees remember which colors meant sweetness three days later? 

Yes! And who had the BEST memory? The bees that consumed the gut bacteria diet remembered the colors BETTER —  by about ten percent! And the more gut bacteria they had, the better their memory!

The researchers think these results might also apply to us humans. What grows in our stomach matters to our brain! 

We should trust our gut! Now that’s some food for thought. 

Reference: Li, L., Solvi, C., Zhang, F. et al. Gut microbiome drives individual memory variation in bumblebees. Nat Commun 12, 6588 (2021).