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The acquisition and internalization of Salmonella by the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera Tenebrionidae

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In poultry broiler production facilities, it is important to understand the sources and contribution of reservoir populations of pathogens. The lesser mealworm beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer), is a common pest in poultry litter that is reported to carry pathogens affecting both human and animal health. This study investigates whether the carriage of a bacterial pathogen occurs by the harboring of bacteria internally by these insects. Beetles were exposed to a marker bacterium, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium-green fluorescent protein (ST-GFP), at concentrations up to 107 colony-forming units (cfu)/mL for 0.5 to 12 h, and then subsequently surface disinfected and dissected. The head, gastrointestinal tract and hemolymph were cultured for the presence of ST-GFP. This study definitively demonstrates the internal carriage of Salmonella by this insect and found that the beetles rapidly acquired bacteria from external sources and harbored the bacteria within their alimentary canal after exposure for 30 min at 104 cfu/mL and within the hemolymph after exposure for 2 h at 106 cfu/mL. Beetles internalized an average of 9.5 101 and 3.2 103 after a 2-h exposure to 2 104 and 2 106 cfu/mL, respectively. The lesser mealworm is a serious pest within the poultry brooder and laying industry and because of their mobility, voracious feeding habits, and prey potential may represent an active source facilitating the dissemination of Salmonella.
Tawni L. Crippen , Cynthia L. Sheffield , Sharon V. Esquivel , Robert E. Droleskey , Jesus F. Esquivel
Alphitobius diaperinus , Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium , bacteria , bacterial colonization , broiler chickens , digestive tract , disease reservoirs , gastrointestinal system , green fluorescent protein , head , hemolymph , insect pests , pathogens , poultry production , proteins , serotypes
Medical and veterinary entomology 2009 v.9 no.1
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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