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The germfree culture of three species of Triatominae: Triatoma protracta (Uhler), Triatoma rubida (Uhler) and Rhodnius prolixus Stal

, : The germfree culture of three species of Triatominae: Triatoma protracta (Uhler), Triatoma rubida (Uhler) and Rhodnius prolixus Stal. Journal of Medical Entomology 10(5): 417-448

Triatoma protracta protracta (Uhl.), T. rubida rubida (Uhl.) and 2 strains of Rhodnius prolixus Stal were successfully reared germ-free to the 4th generation. The eggs were disinfected externally with iodine and the nymphs reared in plastic germ-free modules at 26-28 deg C and at least 40% R.H. Germ-free mice were used as hosts. This is the first report of Triatomines having been reared in a germm-free environment. The bugs were never exposed to bacteria internally or externally until the 4th generation. Comparisons of normal bugs with replicate germ-free groups in the first 2 generations revealed only slight differences in developmental periods. The mean length of life of adults of all germ-free groups was as long as, or longer than, that of normal adults. The fecundity and fertility of mated pairs were similar in germ-free and normal groups. Evaluation of all differences in these various categories resulted in the conclusion that germ-free individuals of these species develop in a normal manner in the absence of bacteria within or on them when fed on a suitable host (mouse). Germ-free samples of R. prolixus did not develop to the adult stage when fed on a rabbit. The critical factor in the normmal development of germ-free examples of this species evidently was the nutrition received from the mouse host.When Nocardia rhodnii, Escherichia coli and Streptococcus faecalis were fed to germ-free examples of T. protracta, N. rhodnii and S. faecalis became stabilised within the alimentary tracts, but E. coli was completely eliminated. When placed in a germ-free module, bugs carrying S. faecalis and N. rhodnii readily transmitted the bacteria to germ-free bugs maintained in the module. Examples of T. protracta and R. prolixus that ingested Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis all died.


PMID: 4586544

DOI: 10.1093/jmedent/10.5.417

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