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    Nectar, the main floral reward for pollinators, varies greatly in composition and concentration. The assumption that nectar quality is equivalent to its sugar (energy) concentration is too simple. Diverse non-sugar components, especially amino acids and secondary metabolites, play various roles in nutrition and health of pollinators. Many nectar compounds have indirect effects by altering the foraging behaviour of pollinators or protecting them from disease. This review also emphasizes the water component of nectar, often ignored because of evaporative losses and difficulties in sampling small nectar volumes. Nectar properties vary with environmental factors, pollinator visits and microbial contamination. Pollination mutualisms depend on the ability of insect and vertebrate pollinators to cope with and benefit from the variation and diversity in nectar chemistry. This article is part of the theme issue 'Natural processes influencing pollinator health: from chemistry to landscapes'.


    Susan W Nicolson. Sweet solutions: nectar chemistry and quality. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 2022 Jun 20;377(1853):20210163

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    PMID: 35491604

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