Culture independent analysis of greyback canegrub-associated microflora and microbial community comparison using subtractive hybridisation

Trent, Cassandra Robyn (2010) Culture independent analysis of greyback canegrub-associated microflora and microbial community comparison using subtractive hybridisation. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Greyback canegrubs cost the Australian sugarcane industry around $13 million per annum in damage and control. A novel and cost effective biocontrol bacterium could play an important role in the integrated pest management program currently in place to reduce damage and control associated costs. During the course of this project, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP), 16-S rDNA cloning, suppressive subtractive hybridisation (SSH) and entomopathogen-specific PCR screening were used to investigate the little studied canegrub-associated microflora in an attempt to discover novel pathogens from putatively-diseased specimens. Microflora associated with these soil-dwelling insects was found to be both highly diverse and divergent between individual specimens. Dominant members detected in live specimens were predominantly from taxa of known insect symbionts while dominant sequences amplified from dead grubs were homologous to putativelysaprophytic bacteria and bacteria able to grow during refrigeration. A number of entomopathogenic bacteria were identified such as Photorhabdus luminescens and Pseudomonas fluorescens. Dead canegrubs prior to decomposition need to be analysed if these bacteria are to be isolated. Novel strategies to enrich putative pathogen-associated sequences (SSH and PCR screening) were shown to be promising approaches for pathogen discovery and the investigation of canegrubsassociated microflora. However, due to inter- and intra-grub-associated community diversity, dead grub decomposition and PCR-specific methodological limitations (PCR bias, primer specificity, BLAST database restrictions, 16-S gene copy number and heterogeneity), recommendations have been made to improve the efficiency of such techniques. Improved specimen collection procedures and utilisation of emerging high-throughput sequencing technologies may be required to examine these complex communities in more detail. This is the first study to perform a whole-grub analysis and comparison of greyback canegrub-associated microbial communities. This work also describes the development of a novel V3-PCR based SSH technique. This was the first SSH technique to use V3-PCR products as a starting material and specifically compare bacterial species present in a complex community.

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ID Code: 33289
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Smith, James, Timms, Peter, Allsopp, Peter, & Nutt, Kerry
Keywords: Sugarcane, sugarcane industry, sugarcane pests and diseases, canegrubs, soldier flies, nematodes, rats, pigs
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 Jul 2010 04:57
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:43

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