3.1.2. Pollen identification (palynology) with molecular methods

Alternatively, pollen can be identified using molecular methods. This is straightforward if the pollen grains carried by the bees belong to just a single species since a large amount of pollen grains can be pooled for DNA, but analyses are more difficult if the bees carry a mixture of pollen grains from different species. In this case a possible approach is to use single pollen genotyping strategies (Matsuki et al., 2008; Suyama, 2011) that allow PCR amplification of the genome of single pollen grains. Molecular pollen identification can be useful for assessing bee cross pollination efficacy; if a bee’s corbicular pollen load contains a number of variety-specific pollens, this is evidence that the bee is foraging across pollinisers.