The potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli Sulc) is an economically important insect pest of solanaceous crops such as potato, tomato, pepper, and tobacco. Historically, the potato psyllid's range included central United States, Mexico, and California; more recently, populations of this insect have been reported in Central America, the Pacific Northwest, and New Zealand. Like most phytophagous insects, potato psyllids require symbiotic bacteria to compensate for nutritional deficiencies in their diet. Potato psyllids harbor the primary symbiont, Candidatus Carsonella ruddii, and may also harbor many secondary symbionts such as Wolbachia sp., Sodalis sp., Pseudomonas sp., and others. These secondary symbionts can have an effect on reproduction, nutrition, immune response, and resistances to heat or pesticides. To identify regional differences in potato psyllid bacterial symbionts, 454 pyrosequencing was performed using generic 16S rRNA gene primers. Analysis was performed using the Qiime 1.6.0 software suite, ARB Silva, and R. Operational taxonomic units were then grouped at 97% identity. Representative sequences were classified to genus using the ARB SILVA database. Potato psyllids collected in California contained a less diverse microbial community than those collected in the central United States and Central America. The crop variety, collection year, and haplotype did not seem to affect the microbial community in potato psyllids. The primary difference between psyllids in different regions was the presence and overall bacterial community composition of Candidatus Carsonella ruddii and Wolbachia.
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Vol. 43 • No. 2