Serratia marcescens as a bacterial pathogen of Rhagoletis pomonella flies (Diptera: Tephritidae)

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A nonpigmenting strain of Serratia marcescens Bizio isolated from dead and apparently diseased wild apple maggot flies, Rhagoletis pomonella (Walsh), was shown to be pathogenic to healthy apple maggot flies upon ingestion. The microorganism was detected in live adult alimentary canal organs four days post ingestion but produced death in some flies within 24 h when flies fed on a cell concentration of 4.7 x 104 cfu/ml and within 8 h when flies fed on filter-sterilized culture medium that previously contained a 21 h culture of S. marcescens. Increasing the cell concentration 10,000 fold did not lead to an increased rate of kill. Young flies (7-10 days old) were more susceptible to infection leading to death than were older flies (21-28 days old). The potential use of S. marcescens cells as control agents against apple maggot flies is negated by their pathogenicity to vertebrates; however, the potential use of toxic compounds produced by this strain of S. marcescens is discussed.




Lauzon, C. R., Bussert, T. G., Sjogren, R. E., & Prokopy, R. J. (2003). Serratia marcescens as a bacterial pathogen of Rhagoletis pomonella flies (Diptera: Tephritidae). European Journal of Entomology, 100(1), 87–92.

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