Maryam Kafil, Ali Reza Bandani, Martin Kaltenpoth, Seyed Hossein Goldansaz, Seyed Mehdi Alavi
Journal of Insect Science 13 (99), 1-12, (1 September 2013) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.013.9901
KEYWORDS: antibiotic effect, egg sterilization, Hemiptera, norfloxacin, symbiont
The Sunn pest, Eurygaster integriceps Puton (Hemiptera: Scutelleridae), is the most important pest of wheat and barley in wide areas of the world. Different aspects of the insect's life history have been studied, but to date nothing is known about their microbial symbionts. Here, the contribution of symbiotic bacteria to the fitness of the bug was investigated by combining two different approaches to manipulate the host's microbial community: the supplementation of antibiotics into the insects' diet and egg surface sterilization. First, bacteria cultured from gut homogenates were subjected to antibiotic screening tests using 20 different antibiotics. Norfloxacin was the most effective antibiotic, with the greatest inhibition zone among all antibiotics tested. Feeding norfloxacin to adult E. integriceps individuals significantly impaired growth and development of the offspring in a dose-dependent manner, i.e., higher antibiotic doses increased the negative effects on nymphal growth and development. Total developmental time from first nymphal instars to adult emergence in control animals was 30.1 days, but when adults had been offered diets with 10, 20, and 30 µg antibiotic per mg diet, the offspring's developmental time was prolonged to 32.8, 34.0, and 34.8 days, respectively. In the highest two doses of norfloxacin, all of the nymphs died before reaching the fifth nymphal instar. Similar results as for the antibiotic treatment were obtained when egg surface sterilization was used to manipulate the microbial community of E. integriceps. These results indicate that bacterial symbionts play a crucial role in the successful development of the host.