Impact of gut microbiota composition on black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (hufnagel) metabolic indices and pesticide degradation

Anim Microbiome. 2023 Sep 15;5(1):44. doi: 10.1186/s42523-023-00264-6.


Endosymbionts are known to have significant effects on their insect hosts, including nutrition, reproduction, and immunity. Insects gut microbiota is a critical component that affects their physiological and behavioral characteristics. The black cutworm (BCW), Agrotis ipsilon, is an economically important lepidopteran pest that has a diverse gut microbiome composed of nine species belonging to three phyla: Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes. This study was conducted to investigate the diversity of gut bacteria isolated from BCW larvae and moths and their effects on metabolism and pesticide degradation. The bacterial isolates were identified using the 16 S rRNA gene. The study showed that the gut microbiome composition significantly affected the metabolism of BCW larvae. Based on the screening results of synthesis of digestive enzymes and pesticide degradation, Brachybacterium conglomeratum and Glutamicibacter sp were selected to perform the remaining experiments as single isolates and consortium. The consortium-fed larvae showed high metabolic indices compared to antibiotic-fed larvae and the control. The gut bacteria were also shown to degrade three pesticide groups. Concerns regarding the health risk of chlorpyrifos have been raised due to its extensive use in agriculture. The isolated B. conglomeratum was more effective in chlorpyrifos degradation than the consortium. Furthermore, the study also examined the presence of sex related endosymbionts (Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and Rickettsia) in the reproductive tissues of adults. The outcomes demonstrated that none of the examined endosymbionts existed. In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of the gut microbiome in insect physiology and behavior and its potential applications in biotechnology. It provides insights into developing eco-friendly pest control and bioremediation strategies using gut bacteria.

Keywords: Agrotis ipsilon; Endosymbionts; Gut bacteria; Insecticide degradation; Metabolism.