Location: Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research
Title: Potential transmission of Pantoea spp. and Serratia marcescens (Enterobacteriales: Enterobacteriaceae) to plants by Lygus hesperus (Hemiptera: Miridae) Authors
Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Lygus hesperus is a major agricultural pest in the western United States. Scientists at the USDA-ARS laboratories in Shafter, CA and Stillwater, OK previously identified numerous proteins from two bacterial plant pathogens, Pantoea ananatis and Serratia spp. in artificial diet that was fed upon by lygus bugs. However, it was not clear from the results of that recent study whether the bugs actually transmitted the bacteria. In this study, the scientists isolated bacterial colonies from artificial diet that was fed upon by lygus, and identified the bacteria as Pantoea ananatis and Serratia spp. Results of this study confirm the previous findings that lygus bugs transmit the plant pathogens, Pantoea ananatis and Serratia spp. These results will help researchers better understand how the lygus bugs injure crops.
Technical Abstract: Lygus hesperus Knight (Hemiptera: Miridae) is a key agricultural pest in the western United States. In a recent study, proteins from Pantoea ananatis and Serratia marcescens (Enterobacteriales: Enterobacteriaceae) were identified in diet that was stylet-probed and fed upon by L. hesperus adults. P. ananatis and S. marcescens are ubiquitous bacteria that infect a wide range of crops. The objective of our study was to determine if L. hesperus transfer P. ananatis and S. marcescens to food substrates during stylet-probing activities. Sucrose (5 percent) was spread under parafilm and exposed to adult L. hesperus for 24 h. Diet similarly prepared but not exposed to insects was used for controls. MacConkey agar was inoculated with stylet-probed or control diets and incubated at 25-degrees C. After 24 h, bacterial colonies were observed on agar that was inoculated with stylet-probed diet, but were not observed on agar inoculated with control diet. Isolated bacterial colonies were putatively identified as either Pantoea spp. or S. marcescens using the API 20e identification kit. These results indicate that L. hesperus is capable of vectoring P. ananatis and S. marcescens.