Transformation of Beauveria bassiana to produce EGFP in Tenebrio molitor for use as animal feed additives


Correspondence: Yeon Ho Je, Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea. Tel.: +82 2 880 4706; fax: +82 2 873 2319; e-mail:


Efforts are underway to develop more effective and safer animal feed additives. Entomopathogenic fungi can be considered practical expression platforms of functional genes within insects which have been used as animal feed additives. In this work, as a model, the enhanced green fluorescent protein (egfp) gene was expressed in yellow mealworms, Tenebrio molitor by highly infective Beauveria bassiana ERL1170. Among seven test isolates, ERL1170 treatment showed 57.1% and 98.3% mortality of mealworms 2 and 5 days after infection, respectively. The fungal transformation vector, pABeG containing the egfp gene, was inserted into the genomic DNA of ERL1170 using the restriction enzyme-mediated integration method. This resulted in the generation of the transformant, Bb-egfp#3, which showed the highest level of fluorescence. Bb-egfp#3-treated mealworms gradually turned dark brown, and in 7-days mealworm sections showed a strong fluorescence. This did not occur in the wild-type strain. This work suggests that further valuable proteins can be efficiently produced in this mealworm-based fungal expression platform, thereby increasing the value of mealworms in the animal feed additive industry.