21.09.2020 | MIE Group News

New review on gut bacterial communities of insects by Rebekka Sontowski and Nicole van Dam

New review on gut bacterial communities of insects by Rebekka Sontowski and Nicole van Dam

Figure: Jennifer Gabriel

Note for the media: Use of the pictures provided by iDiv is permitted for reports related to this media release only, and under the condition that credit is given to the picture originator.

Like in many other organisms, the guts of insects are full of many different bacteria. These bacteria can help their host to overcome toxic diets or can boost its resistance to pathogens. Rebekka Sontowski, funded by CRC ChemBioSys and Nicole van Dam from iDiv were curious to learn which factors determine the composition of gut bacterial communities (GBCs) in true flies and mosquitoes. They reviewed research papers reporting on GBCs in these insects. Using these published data, they investigated whether the GBCs are species-specific or whether they are determined by diet, life stage or environment of the host insect. They found that GBCs in larvae and adults of the same insect species can be very different. Insects on similar diets did not necessarily show similar GBCs. This made them conclude that GBCs are mostly life stage-specific. However, they found that the number of papers investigating this phenomenon are limited and more data are needed to strengthen this conclusion. At the same time, we lack knowledge on the exact function of gut bacteria. Obtaining more knowledge on the function of GBCs may help to design sustainable pest control measures.

Sontowski, R.; van Dam, N.M. Functional Variation in Dipteran Gut Bacterial Communities in Relation to Their Diet, Life Cycle Stage and Habitat. Insects 202011, 543. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080543

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