House fly larval grazing alters dairy cattle manure microbial communities

BMC Microbiol. 2021 Dec 15;21(1):346. doi: 10.1186/s12866-021-02418-5.

Abstract

Background: House fly larvae (Musca domestica L.) require a live microbial community to successfully develop. Cattle manure is rich in organic matter and microorganisms, comprising a suitable substrate for larvae who feed on both the decomposing manure and the prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes therein. Microbial communities change as manure ages, and when fly larvae are present changes attributable to larval grazing also occur. Here, we used high throughput sequencing of 16S and 18S rRNA genes to characterize microbial communities in dairy cattle manure and evaluated the changes in those communities over time by comparing the communities in fresh manure to aged manure with or without house fly larvae.

Results: Bacteria, archaea and protist community compositions significantly differed across manure types (e.g. fresh, aged, larval-grazed). Irrespective of manure type, microbial communities were dominated by the following phyla: Euryarchaeota (Archaea); Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes (Bacteria); Ciliophora, Metamonanda, Ochrophyta, Apicomplexa, Discoba, Lobosa and Cercozoa (Protists). Larval grazing significantly reduced the abundances of Bacteroidetes, Ciliophora, Cercozoa and increased the abundances of Apicomplexa and Discoba. Manure aging alone significantly altered the abundance bacteria (Acinetobacter, Clostridium, Petrimonas, Succinovibro), protists (Buxtonella, Enteromonas) and archaea (Methanosphaera and Methanomassiliicoccus). Larval grazing also altered the abundance of several bacterial genera (Pseudomonas, Bacteroides, Flavobacterium, Taibaiella, Sphingopyxis, Sphingobacterium), protists (Oxytricha, Cercomonas, Colpodella, Parabodo) and archaea (Methanobrevibacter and Methanocorpusculum). Overall, larval grazing significantly reduced bacterial and archaeal diversities but increased protist diversity. Moreover, total carbon (TC) and nitrogen (TN) decreased in larval grazed manure, and both TC and TN were highly correlated with several of bacterial, archaeal and protist communities.

Conclusions: House fly larval grazing altered the abundance and diversity of bacterial, archaeal and protist communities differently than manure aging alone. Fly larvae likely alter community composition by directly feeding on and eliminating microbes and by competing with predatory microbes for available nutrients and microbial prey. Our results lend insight into the role house fly larvae play in shaping manure microbial communities and help identify microbes that house fly larvae utilize as food sources in manure. Information extrapolated from this study can be used to develop manure management strategies to interfere with house fly development and reduce house fly populations.

Keywords: Archaea; Bacteria; Diversity; Grazing; House fly larvae; Manure; Microbial community; Protist.