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Gut microbiota of Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
Gupta, Arvind Kumar
Bezuidenhout, Cornelius Carlos
Van den Berg, Johnnie
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Busseola fusca (Fuller) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a stemborer pest that attacks maize (Zea mays) throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Genetically modified maize has been shown to be effective against B. fusca. However, resistance of B. fusca against Bt-maize has developed and spread throughout South Africa. Previous studies suggested that gut microbiota contribute to mortality across a range of Lepidoptera. To fully assess the role of microbiota within the gut, it is essential to understand the microbiota harboured by natural B. fusca populations. This study aimed to identify the gut-associated bacteria by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. A total of 78 bacterial strains were characterised from the midgut of B. fusca larvae that were collected from 30 sites across the maize producing region of South Africa. Molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed bacteria affiliated to Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes. Taxonomic distribution placed these isolates into 15 different genera representing 20 species. The majority of bacteria identified belong to the genera Bacillus, Enterococcus, and Klebsiella. The B. fusca gut represents an intriguing and unexplored niche for analysing microbial ecology. The study could provide opportunities for developing new targets for pest management and contribute to understanding the phenomenon of resistance evolution of this species