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Symbiosis interruption in the olive fly: Effect of copper and propolis on Candidatus Erwinia dacicola

Bigiotti, Gaia, Pastorelli, Roberta, Belcari, Antonio, Sacchetti, Patrizia
Journal of applied entomology 2019 v.143 no.4 pp. 357-364
Bactrocera oleae, adults, anti-infective agents, bacteria, copper, egg production, eggs, endosymbionts, field experimentation, horticultural crops, integrated pest management, laboratory experimentation, mortality, propolis, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, sustainable agriculture, symbiosis
The relationship between Bactrocera oleae (Rossi 1790) and its endosymbiont Candidatus Erwinia dacicola is important to achieving effective control of the olive fly population in the field. This bacterium plays a crucial role in the life of B. oleae and is necessary for its fitness. Thus, in the absence of the endosymbiont, B. oleae wild populations in the field might decrease considerably. Copper is one of the most used antimicrobials for horticultural crops worldwide, and its efficacy against Ca. E. dacicola has been demonstrated in field trials. Propolis is another natural antimicrobial compound largely used for its activity in several fields. If propolis and copper prove to be efficient against wild populations of the endosymbiont B. oleae in the field, such a biological restraint might improve sustainable agriculture. We evaluated, under laboratory conditions, the effect of two different copper products (at two different concentrations, 5% and 20%) and propolis on the content of Ca. E. dacicola in the eggs and in the adult oesophageal bulbs of B. oleae. Bulbs were extracted twice, after 2 and 5 weeks of exposure. Real‐time PCR on the bulbs showed a reduction in Ca. E. dacicola content in flies treated with copper (at both 5% and 20%), and from the first to the second extraction, while flies treated with propolis showed an increment of the relative abundance of Ca. E. dacicola. Both copper products (5% and 20%) reduced the egg production after 2 and 5 weeks in comparison with the control and propolis treatments. Moreover, adult mortality was significantly higher with propolis compared with the other treatments. Thus, our results encourage further research in order to develop new tools for the control of the olive fly in the framework of an integrated pest management strategy.