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[SANET-MG] bacterial endosymbiont to control insect pests
Wolbachia bacterial symbionts have been discussed for some time as a
pest control strategy. The article below shows a successful application
of the bacterium. The bacterium should be considered an "organic" pest
control. However, registration of biopesticides can be a long and
tedious process (unless, of course, the control bacteria are not
genetically modified, in which case registration seems to be fast tracked).
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0403853101 oct. 6 ,2004
Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility as a means for insect pest
Sofia Zabalou *, Markus Riegler , Marianna Theodorakopoulou ¶, Christian
Stauffer , Charalambos Savakis *||, and Kostas Bourtzis ||**
*Department of Medical Sciences, Medical School, and ¶Department of
Biology, University of Crete, Heraklion 711 10, Crete, Greece;
Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Heraklion 711 10, Crete,
Greece; Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest
Protection, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, BOKU, University of
Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, 1190 Vienna, Austria;
Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Queensland, St.
Lucia QLD 4072, Australia; ||Institute of Molecular Biology and
Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas, Vassilika
Vouton, P.O. Box 1527, Heraklion 711 10, Crete, Greece; and **Department
of Environmental and Natural Resources Management, University of
Ioannina, 2 Seferi Steet, Agrinio 30100, Greece
Biological control is the purposeful introduction of parasites,
predators, and pathogens to reduce or suppress pest populations.
Wolbachia are inherited bacteria of arthropods that have recently
attracted attention for their potential as new biocontrol agents.
Wolbachia manipulate host reproduction by using several strategies, one
of which is cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) [Stouthamer, R., Breeuwer,
J. A. J. & Hurst, G. D. D. (1999) Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 53, 71-102]. We
established Wolbachia-infected lines of the medfly Ceratitis capitata
using the infected cherry fruit fly Rhagoletis cerasi as donor.
Wolbachia induced complete CI in the novel host. Laboratory cage
populations were completely suppressed by single releases of infected
males, suggesting that Wolbachia-induced CI could be used as a novel
environmentally friendly tool for the control of medfly populations. The
results also encourage the introduction of Wolbachia into pest and
vector species of economic and hygenic relevance to suppress or modify
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