A protocol was developed for significantly reducing resident midgut bacteria in newly emerged anopheline mosquitoes using a combination of antibiotics. Pupa harvested from colony-reared Anopheles gambiae s.l. Giles and Anopheles stephensi (Liston) were placed in cages wiped previously with 70% alcohol and kept under UV light for 24 h. Emerging adult mosquitoes were fed for 3 consecutive days on antibiotic solution, consisting of 0.4% gentamicin sulfate and 1% penicillin-streptomycin solution in a 10% sterile sucrose solution. Bacterial suspensions of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae (Schroeter, 1886), and Pseudomonas stutzeri (Lehmann & Neumann, 1896) isolated from wild-caught anophelines were fed to antibiotic-treated mosquitoes starved for 24 h via either sugar or membrane-feeding. Mosquitoes dissected 1 and 24 h after blood-feeding or sugar-feeding, and plated on trypticase soy agar plates, yielded the same type of bacteria fed originally without evidence of contaminants. There was no residual effect of the antibiotics on introduced single bacteria strains as judged by the presence of bacteria in antibiotic-treated mosquitoes. This experimental reduction of resident midgut bacteria and their replacement with single strains in newly emerged anopheline mosquitoes should facilitate further investigations of the interactions between malaria parasites and bacteria found in the midguts of mosquitoes.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2