• Open Access

Microbial symbionts: a resource for the management of insect-related problems

Authors

  • Elena Crotti,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Alimentari e Microbiologiche, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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    • These authors have equally contributed to this work.

  • Annalisa Balloi,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Alimentari e Microbiologiche, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
    2. Micro4yoU s.r.l., 20122 Milan, Italy
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    • These authors have equally contributed to this work.

  • Chadlia Hamdi,

    1. Laboratoire des Microrganismes et Biomolecules Actives (LMBA), Universite' de Tunis ‘El Manar’, 2092 Tunis, Tunisia
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  • Luigi Sansonno,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Alimentari e Microbiologiche, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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  • Massimo Marzorati,

    1. Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
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  • Elena Gonella,

    1. Dipartimento di Valorizzazione e Protezione delle Risorse Agroforestali, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy
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  • Guido Favia,

    1. Scuola di Bioscienze e Biotecnologie, Universita' degli Studi di Camerino, 62032 Camerino, Italy
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  • Ameur Cherif,

    1. Laboratoire des Microrganismes et Biomolecules Actives (LMBA), Universite' de Tunis ‘El Manar’, 2092 Tunis, Tunisia
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  • Claudio Bandi,

    1. Dipartimento di Patologia Animale, Igiene e Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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  • Alberto Alma,

    1. Dipartimento di Valorizzazione e Protezione delle Risorse Agroforestali, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy
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  • Daniele Daffonchio

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Alimentari e Microbiologiche, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
      E-mail daniele.daffonchio@unimi.it; Tel. (+39) 2 50319117; Fax (+39) 2 50319238.
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E-mail daniele.daffonchio@unimi.it; Tel. (+39) 2 50319117; Fax (+39) 2 50319238.

Summary

Microorganisms establish with their animal hosts close interactions. They are involved in many aspects of the host life, physiology and evolution, including nutrition, reproduction, immune homeostasis, defence and speciation. Thus, the manipulation and the exploitation the microbiota could result in important practical applications for the development of strategies for the management of insect-related problems. This approach, defined as ‘Microbial Resource Management’ (MRM), has been applied successfully in various environments and ecosystems, as wastewater treatments, prebiotics in humans, anaerobic digestion and so on. MRM foresees the proper management of the microbial resource present in a given ecosystem in order to solve practical problems through the use of microorganisms. In this review we present an interesting field for application for MRM concept, i.e. the microbial communities associated with arthropods and nematodes. Several examples related to this field of applications are presented. Insect microbiota can be manipulated: (i) to control insect pests for agriculture; (ii) to control pathogens transmitted by insects to humans, animals and plants; (iii) to protect beneficial insects from diseases and stresses. Besides, we prospect further studies aimed to verify, improve and apply MRM by using the insect–symbiont ecosystem as a model.

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