Scavenger deterrent factor (SDF) from symbiotic bacteria of entomopathogenic nematodes

J Invertebr Pathol. 2012 Jul;110(3):326-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2012.03.014. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) in the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis are symbiotically associated with bacteria in the genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus, respectively. The symbiotic bacteria produce a chemical compound(s) that deterred ants from feeding on nematode-killed insects (i.e., cadavers) and has been previously referred to as an Ant Deterrent Factor (ADF). We studied the response of different arthropod scavenger species which included the ant Lepisiota frauenfeldi, cricket Gryllus bimaculatus, wasps Vespa orientalis and Paravespula sp., and calliphorid fly Chrysomya albiceps, to ADF. These scavengers (ants, crickets, and wasps) were exposed to cadavers with and without the nematode/bacterium complex or to Photorhabdus luminescens cultures of different ages on different substrates. The ant, cricket, and wasp species did not feed on nematode-killed insects containing the nematode/bacterium complex that were 2 days old and older but fed on 1-day-old nematode-killed and freeze -killed insects. Crickets consumed 2- to 7-day-old axenic nematode-killed insects, 1-, 4-, and 5-day-old insects killed by the bacterium, Serratia marcescens, and freeze-killed, putrid insects that were up to 10 days old. The crickets only partially consumed 2- and 3-day-old insects killed by S. marcescens which differed significantly from the 1-, 4-, and 5-day-old killed insects by this bacterium. Ants fed only on 5% sucrose solution (control) and 1- to 3- day old cultures of P. luminescens containing 5% sucrose but not on older cultures of P. luminescens. Wasps did not feed on meat treated with P. luminescens supernatant, whereas they fed on meat treated with Escherichia coli supernatant and control meat. Calliphorid flies did not oviposit on meat treated with P. luminescens supernatant but did oviposit on untreated meat. Based on the response of these scavengers, the chemical compound(s) responsible for this deterrent activity should be called "scavenger deterrent factor" (SDF).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Ants / drug effects
  • Ants / physiology
  • Biological Factors / metabolism*
  • Biological Factors / toxicity
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Gryllidae / drug effects
  • Gryllidae / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Larva / microbiology
  • Nematoda / microbiology*
  • Nematoda / physiology
  • Oviposition / drug effects
  • Oviposition / physiology
  • Pest Control, Biological*
  • Photorhabdus / metabolism*
  • Symbiosis
  • Wasps / drug effects
  • Wasps / physiology
  • Xenorhabdus / metabolism*


  • Biological Factors