Pollen analysis with AIMethods



Tanacetum vulgare

Experts for DNA barcoding and metabarcoding

As leading DNA barcoding experts, we are able to not only idenify all

the pests and common species, but also digitally represent and

evaluate biodiversity in its entirety

Thus, we contribute significantly to the development of a comprehensive

online genetic database of all species. DNA barcode reference databases are

growing continuously and are curated by experts, museums and state

collections around the world.

Because: we can only protect what we know!

✓Detection of invasive species

✓Determination of pest species

✓Identification of species compositions

✓Analysis of processed food

In addition to the well-known honeybees, numerous other groups of insects are

responsible for pollinating various plant species.

By means of our established DNA metabarcoding workflow, we can quickly and reliably identify

species compositions regardless of how numerous or complex the community is. Barcodes enable

us to reliably and holistically determine the diversity of insects and its spatiotemporal relationship

with flower strips, agricultural or urban areas. More to the point, they allow us to identify and

protect the pollinators taking on the ecosystem services indispensable for the maintenance of

healthy and balanced ecosystems.

By pollinating crops in agriculture, insects provide an

economically extremely important ecosystem service. In the case

of some plant species, they increase the yield, and in other cases,

they are irreplaceable if any yield is expected at all.

By means of our specialized pollen metabarcoding analysis, we can

ascertain whether the pollinators are offered a sufficiently balanced

variety of plants in a particular agricultural area. In this way, we can help

ensure the economic efficiency as well as the ecological sustainability

of modern agriculture.

Flower strips are used as agri-environmental measures to enrich the local

biodiversity and to form protective islands for different animal groups in

industrial agriculture. However, positive effects on biodiversity require the

use of native floral elements!

A parallel comparison of established genetic plant barcodes with several reference

databases by means of our advanced bioinformatics enables us to determine

species compositions in a reliable fashion, be it botanical single or mixed samples,

samples of tissue, seeds or pollen. In this way we can check if the sown flower

strips include species that reflect the native flora, as well as to which extent

pollinator species respond to and make use of these plant species.

Pollen contains the male germ cells of flowering plants and thus

the DNA copies of the original plant.

Our efficient molecular tools allow us to isolate DNA even from tiny

microscopic particles, such as pollen. A molecular approach to

species identification makes it possible, for instance, to examine

which species of plants in particular are visited by insects, as well as

whether artificially created flowering strips meaningfully contribute to

the stabilization of the pollinator networks.

The sorting of honey into different types is based on the

classification of the pollen residue in honey. The proportions and

origin of the pollen are determined and the honey sample is

assigned to a corresponding variety.

With the help of our specific pollen markers, we can carry out qualitative

and semi-quantitative analyses of pollen residues in honey samples.

DNA metabarcoding enables identification of the botanical and thus

often the geographical origin of the nectar brought in by the bees. The

molecular analysis can support the classical examinations in a

meaningful way!

Traditionally, mixed pollen samples are examined

morphologically under the microscope.

Until recently the quantity and botanical origin of the pollen in honey,

adhesive tape or environmental samples could only be determined

morphologically. In some cases, this approach can also determine the

geographical origin. Some plant species with characteristic pollen

morphology can be assessed more easily, while other groups can only

be identified taxonomically up to the family.

We identify the plant species present in a pollen sample with a highly specialized

and very effective DNA barcoding workflow.

This methodology enables us to quickly and efficiently identify the different species

present. This is especially important for samples containing many species. Utilizing DNA

barcode fragments, we can identify species even if taxonomic expertise is lacking, or a

sample cannot be determined morphologically.

Your sample

Our analysis

Your report

molecular honey analysis 2.0

Our metabarcoding technology allows an analysis of thousands of organisms

- from hundreds of samples – simultaneously!

The DNA of the target plants

is extracted from the pollen

residues in the honey


In the first bioinformatics

step, the raw sequence

data is quality filtered,

cleaned, clustered and

prepared for database


When it comes to honey, bees take over the sampling of

the genetic material by collecting pollen and nectar!

Even small amounts of honey

are suitable for genetic analysis.

These should be sent in a tightly

sealed container.

The genetic region required

for DNA barcoding is

amplified. Then, the DNA

fragments of each sample

are given a unique marker

and are sequenced.

The sequences are compared

with the publicly accessible

databases (BOLD, UNITE,

NCBI GenBank) to identify

library sequences that closely

resemble them.

Depending on the question,

detailed species lists are

created and supplemented

with additional metadata

(e.g. geographical origin,

flowering periods). In

addition, statistical

evaluations and special

graphical representations

can be carried out at the

customer's request.

AIM – Advanced Identification Methods GmbH

Niemeyerstr. 1

04179 Leipzig




+ 49 / (0)341 33 20 31 743

+ 49 / (0)172 237 83 76

This booklet was printed on 100%

aus recycled waste paper from the

German ecolabel Blauer Engel.

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