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21 July 2023 Microplastic ingestion perturbs the microbiome of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) and Aedes aegypti
Carla-Cristina Edwards, Gabriella McConnel, Daniela Ramos, Yaizeth Gurrola-Mares, Kailash Dhondiram Arole, Micah J. Green, Jaclyn E. Cañas-Carrell, Corey L. Brelsfoard
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Abstract

Microplastics (MPs) are common environmental pollutants; however, little is known about their effects after ingestion by insects. Here we fed Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti (L.) and Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse) mosquito larvae 1 µm polystyrene MPs and examined the impacts of ingestion on adult emergence rates, gut damage, and fungal and bacterial microbiota. Results show that MPs accumulate in the larval guts, resulting in gut damage. However, little impact on adult emergence rates was observed. MPs are also found in adult guts postemergence from the pupal stage, and adults expel MPs in their frass after obtaining sugar meals. Moreover, MPs effects on insect microbiomes need to be better defined. To address this knowledge gap, we investigated the relationship between MP ingestion and the microbial communities in Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti. The microbiota composition was altered by the ingestion of increasing concentrations of MPs. Amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) that contributed to differences in the bacterial and fungal microbiota composition between MP treatments were from the genera Elizabethkingia and Aspergillus, respectively. Furthermore, a decrease in the alpha diversity of the fungal and bacterial microbiota was observed in treatments where larvae ingested MPs. These results highlight the potential for the bacterial and fungal constituents in the mosquito microbiome to respond differently to the ingestion of MPs. Based on our findings and the effects of MP ingestion on the mosquito host micro- and mycobiome, MP pollution could impact the vector competence of important mosquito-transmitted viruses and parasites that cause human and animal diseases.

Carla-Cristina Edwards, Gabriella McConnel, Daniela Ramos, Yaizeth Gurrola-Mares, Kailash Dhondiram Arole, Micah J. Green, Jaclyn E. Cañas-Carrell, and Corey L. Brelsfoard "Microplastic ingestion perturbs the microbiome of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) and Aedes aegypti," Journal of Medical Entomology 60(5), 884-898, (21 July 2023). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjad097
Received: 13 April 2023; Accepted: 11 July 2023; Published: 21 July 2023
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KEYWORDS
microbiota
microplastic ingestion
pollution
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