Control of a Bacterial Contaminant of Boll Weevil Diet

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Abstract:

Laboratories involved in rearing insects are continually faced with the problem of keeping insect colonies free of disease and rearing media free of microbial contamination. To aid in alleviation of these problems, aseptic techniques are used and antimicrobial agents are added to the diets. However, antimicrobial agents are expensive, particularly for large rearing operations, and high concentrations generally have a detrimental effect on the viability of the insects. In our laboratory, loss of boll weevils, Anthonomus grandis Boheman, from microbial contamination of the diet has been a regular occurrence (1–20% of larval cultures). Attempts to prevent contamination have included: sterilizing the diet, incorporating the antibiotic tetracycline (Polyotic®, 0.2% final diet concentration), spraying the surface of the diet with a 6% solution of formaldehyde, and partially desiccating the diet after implantation of the eggs. However, these preventive measures have been ineffective in controlling a slime-producing contaminant which is evidently widespread in many types of insect cultures. The purpose of this research was to identify the contaminant and to determine a means of controlling it with minimal amounts of antimicrobial additives.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 16, 1973

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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