Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insecticidal Toxin Useless Without 'Friendly' Bacteria Accomplices

Date:
March 9, 2009
Source:
BMC Biology
Summary:
The toxin produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis is a popular insecticide used to control pest moths and butterflies, and in some GM pest-proof crops. In a study published in BMC Biology, researchers show that its effectiveness against a number of susceptible Lepidopteran species depends on the presence of the normally "friendly" bacteria that colonize their guts. Without these bacteria, the Bt toxin can become impotent in some species.

The toxin produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a popular insecticide used to control pest moths and butterflies, and in some GM pest-proof crops. Researchers have now shown that its effectiveness against a number of susceptible Lepidopteran species depends on the presence of the normally "friendly" bacteria that colonise their guts. Without these bacteria, the Bt toxin can become impotent in some species.

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin studied the effects of wiping out the commensal gut bacteria using antibiotics in six moth and butterfly species. In five of these species, the antibiotic treatment protected the insects against the lethal effects of the toxin, and in four of the five species, replacing the gut bacteria caused the toxin to become effective again. Graduate student Nichole Broderick said, "Our results suggest that Bt may kill some insects by causing otherwise benign gut bacteria to exert pathogenic effects. If the insects don't have these bacteria present, the toxin may be ineffective".

According to the authors, "We've shown that larval enteric bacteria affect susceptibility to Bt, and the extent of this impact varies across butterfly and moth species. This does not exclude other factors, including the insect host, B. thuringiensis strain, and environmental conditions. In some cases these factors may interact, for example, host diet can alter the composition of enteric bacteria".

They conclude, "From a pest management perspective, the ability of a non-specific enteric bacterium to restore B. thuringiensis-induced mortality of some Lepidopteran species may provide opportunities for increasing susceptibility or preventing resistance".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMC Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nichole A. Broderick, Courtney J. Robinson, Matthew D. McMahon, Jonathan Holt, Jo Handelsman and Kenneth F. Raffa. Contributions of gut bacteria to Bacillus thuringiensis-induced mortality vary across a range of Lepidoptera. BMC Biology, (in press)

Cite This Page:

BMC Biology. "Insecticidal Toxin Useless Without 'Friendly' Bacteria Accomplices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090303193952.htm>.
BMC Biology. (2009, March 9). Insecticidal Toxin Useless Without 'Friendly' Bacteria Accomplices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090303193952.htm
BMC Biology. "Insecticidal Toxin Useless Without 'Friendly' Bacteria Accomplices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090303193952.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins