Gut microbiota of tenebrio molitor and their response to environmental change

Jaejoon Jung, Aram Heo, Yong Woo Park, Ye Ji Kim, Hyelim Koh, Woojun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


A bacterial community analysis of the gut of Tenebrio molitor larvae was performed using pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. A predominance of genus Spiroplasma species in phylum Tenericutes was observed in the gut samples, but there was variation found in the community composition between T. molitor individuals. The gut bacteria community structure was not significantly affected by the presence of antibiotics or by the exposure of T. molitor larvae to a highly diverse soil bacteria community. A negative relationship was identified between bacterial diversity and ampicillin concentration; however, no negative relationship was identified with the addition of kanamycin. Ampicillin treatment resulted in a reduction in the bacterial community size, estimated using the 16S rRNA gene copy number. A detailed phylogenetic analysis indicated that the Spiroplasma-associated sequences originating from the T. molitor larvae were distinct from previously identified Spiroplasma type species, implying the presence of novel Spiroplasma species. Some Spiroplasma species are known to be insect pathogens; however, the T. molitor larvae did not experience any harmful effects arising from the presence of Spiroplasma species, indicating that Spiroplasma in the gut of T. molitor larvae do not act as a pathogen to the host. A comparison with the bacterial communities found in other insects (Apis and Solenopsis) showed that the Spiroplasma species found in this study were specific to T. molitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-897
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Ampicillin
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Spiroplasma
  • Tenebrio molitor
  • Tenericutes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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