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

Elena Crotti, Annalisa Balloi, Chadlia Hamdi, Luigi Sansonno, Massimo Marzorati, Elena Gonella, Guido Favia, Ameur Cherif, Claudio Bandi, Alberto Alma, Daniele Daffonchio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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