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Oral toxicity of Photorhabdus luminescens and Xenorhabdus nematophila (Enterobacteriaceae) against Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae)

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Dengue fever is an important vector-borne disease, mainly transmitted by Aedes aegypti. To date, there are no vaccines or effective drugs available against this arboviral disease. As mosquito control is practically the only method available to control dengue fever, alternative and cost-effective pest control strategies need to be explored. The gram-negative enteric bacteria Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus are symbiotically associated with nematode parasites, which themselves are highly pathogenic for insect larvae. Here, we evaluate the oral toxicity of these entomopathogenic bacteria in A. aegypti larvae. The susceptibility of larvae (third late or fourth early instars) was assessed by exposing them to suspensions containing Photorhabdus luminescens or Xenorhabdus nematophila, respectively. Two diet treatments were tested with larvae fed on pet food and unfed larvae. After 24 h, larvae began to die when exposed to the bacteria. Exposure to P. luminescens killed 73 % of the fed and 83 % of the unfed larvae, respectively. In comparison, X. nematophila was less pathogenic, killing 52 % of the larvae in the fed and 42 % in the unfed treatment. Remarkably, cannibalism was observed in all bioassays after exposing larvae to either of the bacterial species. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the efficiency of these entomopathogenic bacteria for oral A. aegypti killing. Our results provide a promising basis for using these bacteria as bioinsecticides for mosquito control in the future.

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Research of R.H. was financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (HE-5247/4-1). We thank Sabine Scheu for excellent technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Onilda Santos da Silva.

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da Silva, O.S., Prado, G.R., da Silva, J.L.R. et al. Oral toxicity of Photorhabdus luminescens and Xenorhabdus nematophila (Enterobacteriaceae) against Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitol Res 112, 2891–2896 (2013).

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  • Mosquito Larva
  • Mosquito Control
  • Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Oral Toxicity
  • Diflubenzuron