Review of treatment methods to remove Wolbachia bacteria from arthropods. Symbiosis.

Li, Y.Y., Floate, K.D., Fields, P.G., and Pang, B. (2014). "Review of treatment methods to remove Wolbachia bacteria from arthropods. Symbiosis.", Symbiosis, 62(1), pp. 1-15. doi : 10.1007/s13199-014-0267-1  Access to full text


Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that infect numerous and diverse arthropod species including economic pests of crops and disease vectors affecting livestock and humans. Research on these symbionts has identified profound effects of Wolbachia on their hosts with possible application in pest control. Such research often requires methods to cure infections. To facilitate future research on these bacteria, we reviewed the Wolbachia literature to summarize results of 110 studies spanning 62 taxa that report on treatment methods and outcomes. Application of tetracycline in diet is the most common method and is typically successful. Rifampicin is secondarily used, and may be successful when tetracycline is not. Elevated temperatures can be used to eliminate infections, but is not often used. Rearing hosts under crowded conditions or starvation has been shown to reduce Wolbachia titre which affects maternal transmission. Application of treatment methods has a number of considerations with possible implications for the interpretation of data. This review is intended to alert the reader to treatment options and potential non-target effects.

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