Gut microbiota affects tephritid (Diptera: Tephritidae) fruit fly development, physiology, behavior, and thus the quality of flies mass-reared for the sterile insect technique (SIT), a target-specific, sustainable, environmentally benign form of pest management. The Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Tephritidae), is a significant horticultural pest in Australia and can be managed with SIT. Little is known about the impacts that laboratory-adaptation (domestication) and mass-rearing have on the tephritid larval gut microbiome. Read lengths of previous fruit fly next-generation sequencing (NGS) studies have limited the resolution of microbiome studies, and the diversity within populations is often overlooked. In this study, we used a new near full-length (> 1300 nt) 16S rRNA gene amplicon NGS approach to characterize gut bacterial communities of individual B. tryoni larvae from two field populations (developing in peaches) and three domesticated populations (mass- or laboratory-reared on artificial diets).RESULTS: Near full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained for 56 B. tryoni larvae. OTU clustering at 99% similarity revealed that gut bacterial diversity was low and significantly lower in domesticated larvae. Bacteria commonly associated with fruit (Acetobacteraceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and Leuconostocaceae) were detected in wild larvae, but were largely absent from domesticated larvae. However, Asaia, an acetic acid bacterium not frequently detected within adult tephritid species, was detected in larvae of both wild and domesticated populations (55 out of 56 larval gut samples). Larvae from the same single peach shared a similar gut bacterial profile, whereas larvae from different peaches collected from the same tree had different gut bacterial profiles. Clustering of the Asaia near full-length sequences at 100% similarity showed that the wild flies from different locations had different Asaia strains.CONCLUSIONS: Variation in the gut bacterial communities of B. tryoni larvae depends on diet, domestication, and horizontal acquisition. Bacterial variation in wild larvae suggests that more than one bacterial species can perform the same functional role; however, Asaia could be an important gut bacterium in larvae and warrants further study. A greater understanding of the functions of the bacteria detected in larvae could lead to increased fly quality and performance as part of the SIT.
Deutscher, A. T., Burke, C. M., Darling, A. E., Riegler, M., Reynolds, O. L., & Chapman, T. A. (2018). Near full-length 16S rRNA gene next-generation sequencing revealed Asaia as a common midgut bacterium of wild and domesticated Queensland fruit fly larvae. Microbiome, 6(1), 1-22. . https://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-018-0463-y