Next Article in Journal
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Intercropping within Managed Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) Does Not Affect Wild Bee Communities
Previous Article in Journal
Collectively Facilitated Behavior of the Neonate Caterpillars of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Insects 2016, 7(4), 61;

Impacts of Antibiotic and Bacteriophage Treatments on the Gut-Symbiont-Associated Blissus insularis (Hemiptera: Blissidae)

Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brian T. Forschler
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
Full-Text   |   PDF [9801 KB, uploaded 3 November 2016]   |  


The Southern chinch bug, Blissus insularis, possesses specialized midgut crypts that harbor dense populations of the exocellular symbiont Burkholderia. Oral administration of antibiotics suppressed the gut symbionts in B. insularis and negatively impacted insect host fitness, as reflected by retarded development, smaller body size, and higher susceptibility to an insecticide, bifenthrin. Considering that the antibiotics probably had non-lethal but toxic effects on host fitness, attempts were conducted to reduce gut symbionts using bacteriophage treatment. Soil-lytic phages active against the cultures of specific Burkholderia ribotypes were successfully isolated using a soil enrichment protocol. Characterization of the BiBurk16MC_R phage determined its specificity to the Bi16MC_R_vitro ribotype and placed it within the family Podoviridae. Oral administration of phages to fifth-instar B. insularis, inoculated with Bi16MC_R_vitro as neonates had no deleterious effects on host fitness. However, the ingested phages failed to impact the crypt-associated Burkholderia. The observed inactivity of the phage was likely due to the blockage of the connection between the anterior and posterior midgut regions. These findings suggest that the initial colonization by Burkholderia programs the ontogeny of the midgut, providing a sheltered residence protected from microbial antagonists. View Full-Text
Keywords: Burkholderia; Blissus insularis; midgut crypts; antibiotics; fitness; podovirus Burkholderia; Blissus insularis; midgut crypts; antibiotics; fitness; podovirus

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Xu, Y.; Buss, E.A.; Boucias, D.G. Impacts of Antibiotic and Bacteriophage Treatments on the Gut-Symbiont-Associated Blissus insularis (Hemiptera: Blissidae). Insects 2016, 7, 61.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Insects EISSN 2075-4450 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top