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Background: Breeding programs and research activities where artificial buzz-pollinations are required to have primarily relied upon using tuning forks, and bumble bees. However, these methods can be expensive, unreliable, and inefficient. To find an alternative, we tested the efficiency of pollen collection using electric toothbrushes and compared it with tuning forks at three vibration frequencies—low, medium, and high and two extraction times at 3 s and 16 s- from two buzz—pollinated species (Solanum lycopersicum and Solanum elaeagnifolium).

Results: Our results show that species, and extraction time significantly influenced pollen extraction, while there were no significant differences for the different vibration frequencies and more importantly, the use of a toothbrush over tuning fork. More pollen was extracted from S. elaeagnifolium when compared to S. lycopersicum, and at longer buzzing time regardless of the instrument used.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that electric toothbrushes can be a viable and inexpensive alternative to tuning forks, and regardless of the instrument used and buzzing frequency, length of buzzing time is also critical in pollen extraction.


© The Author(s) 2020. Original published version available at

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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BMC Ecology





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