SeedLabs

Health is not just human—we are a microcosm of Earth’s ecology. Our research encompasses ecosystems beyond the human body. We founded SeedLabs to develop novel applications of bacteria to enhance biodiversity and recover ecosystems impacted by human activity.

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01Honey Bees

Probiotics to improve honey bee immune resilience and protect against the harmful effects of pesticides, climate change, disease, and habitat loss.

Research Collaborators
Gregor Reid, PhD, MBA
Gregor Reid, PhD, MBA
Chief Scientist, Probiotics
Brendan A. Daisley
Brendan A. Daisley
SeedLabs Fellow

Could beneficial microbes help save honey bees?

The honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) is one of our most vital insect pollinators, responsible for nearly a third of our global food crops.¹ Yet widespread pesticide use, along with climate change, disease, and habitat loss, have contributed to a stark reduction in honey bee populations over the past decade.²

SeedLab’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Gregor Reid, and SeedLabs Fellow, Brendan Daisley, identified three probiotic strains—Lactobacillus plantarum Lp39, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, and Lactobacillus kunkeei BR-1—with the potential to improve innate immune response, provide resistance against infection, and reduce the use of toxic pesticides.³
So, we developed The BioPatty™, formulated with these three probiotic strains and delivered it to A. mellifera hives.

Early results are promising. Hives that administered the BioPatty™ showed a significantly lower pathogen load in both adult bees and in larvae than those without. Initial field trial observations were then reproduced in laboratory experiments, indicating that our three-strain probiotic could improve honey bee survival against Paenibacillus larvae infection, directly inhibit P. larvae cells in vitro, and modulate innate immunity when an infection was experimentally triggered.

Status of Research

Currently, Dr. Reid and Brendan Daisley are working to evaluate delivery methods that would allow beekeepers flexibility in application. Additionally, they and collaborators are continuing field studies to assess the impact of the microbial consortium on bee health, survival, and immunity.


1 Lactobacillus spp. attenuate antibiotic-induced immune and microbiota dysregulation in honey bees Brendan A. Daisley, Andrew P. Pitek, John A. Chmiel, Shaeley Gibbons, Anna M. Chernyshova, Kait F. Al, Kyrillos M. Faragalla, Jeremy P. Burton, Graham J. Thompson & Gregor Reid Commun Biol 3, 534 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01259-8


2 Missing Microbes in Bees: How Systematic Depletion of Key Symbionts Erodes Immunity

Brendan A. Daisley, John A. Chmiel, Andrew P. Pitek, Graham J. Thompson, Gregor Reid
Trends in Microbiology, S0966-842X(20)30185-2; (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2020.06.006


3 Novel probiotic approach to counter Paenibacillus larvae infection in honey bees
Brendan A. Daisley, Andrew P. Pitek, John A. Chmiel, Kait F. Al, Anna M. Chernyshova, Kyrillos M. Faragalla, Jeremy P. Burton, Graham J. Thompson, Gregor Reid The ISME Journal, 14(2), 476–491; (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-019-0541-6





02Coral

Probiotics for corals—working to increase the resilience of this fragile ecosystem.

Research Collaborators
Raquel Peixoto, PhD, MSc
Raquel Peixoto, PhD, MSc
Scientific Advisor

Could microbiome manipulation and probiotics prevent coral bleaching?

Coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. They sustain 25% of marine life, yet their function in the economics, health, and protection of human ecosystems is equally vital. Changing environmental conditions—rising water temperatures, pollution, ocean acidification—have greatly affected the homeostasis of coral reefs worldwide. 

Coral is a holobiont, a home to many other species living in or around it, which together form a discrete ecological unit.⁴ When coral is bleached or infected with a disease, it harms and exposes its inhabitants—algal symbionts, and a variety of bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses—which, in turn, negatively impacts all other biomes and their resident organisms. 

We are working with Dr. Raquel Peixoto, an Associate Professor of Marine Science at KAUST, to understand the benefit of probiotic bacteria for the prevention of coral bleaching, enhancing coral calcification, and aiding in coral growth and resilience. Our collaboration also includes the development of innovative technologies for probiotic delivery to reef systems. 

Status of Research 

Collaborative research between SeedLabs, Dr. Peixoto, and Biosphere 2 is being planned for execution at the Biosphere 2 facilities.


4 Margulis, Lynn; Fester, René (1991). "Symbiosis as a Source of Evolutionary Innovation". MIT Press. ISBN 9780262132695.

03Agriculture

Culturing...

04Space

Currently fermenting: Launching Fall 2021.

05BioMaterials

Currently fermenting: Launching Summer 2021.

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