Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research » Research » Research Project #439090

Research Project: Effects of Ant-Produced Compounds on Microbes

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Project Number: 6036-32000-051-015-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Aug 31, 2022

Objective:
Determine how specific ant chemistries influence microbes in the ecosystem they infest and in male/winged female interactions.

Approach:
1) Two known classes of compounds, free fatty acids and venom alkaloids, produced by RIFA will be evaluated for their effects on nitrogen fixing bacteria, since soybean plants grown without RIFA had the typical N2 nodules on the roots from N2 fixing bacteria; whereas, soybean plant root systems grown with RIFA had no nodules. 2) Free fatty acids (FFAs) are found in large quantities in both the male and winged female reproductive systems (Vander Meer unpublished). 3) The FFAs may play an antimicrobial role during the mating process by preventing sexually transmitted diseases. 4) Since sperm transferred to the female during mating have high concentrations of FFAs, we will investigate whether or not FFAs contribute to the exceptional longevity of RIFA sperm (5-7 years).