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Diversity of culturable bacteria including Pantoea in wild mosquito Aedes albopictus

Claire Valiente Moro12*, Florence Hélène Tran12, Fara Nantenaina Raharimalala35, Pierre Ravelonandro4 and Patrick Mavingui12

Author Affiliations

1 Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69622, France

2 Ecologie Microbienne, CNRS UMR 5557, INRA USC1364, VetAgroSup,, Villeurbanne, France

3 Département d’Entomologie de la Faculté des Sciences d’Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar

4 Centre National de Recherche sur l′Environnement, Antananarivo, Madagascar

5 Present address: Medical Entomology Unit, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Antananarivo, Madagascar

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BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:70  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-70

Published: 27 March 2013



The microbiota has been shown to play an important role in the biology of insects. In recent decades, significant efforts have been made to better understand the diversity of symbiotic bacteria associated with mosquitoes and assess their influence on pathogen transmission. Here, we report the bacterial composition found in field-caught Aedes albopictus populations by using culture-dependent methods.


A total of 104 mosquito imagos (56 males and 48 females) were caught from four contrasting biotopes of Madagascar and their bacterial contents were screened by plating whole body homogenates on three different culture media. From 281 bacterial colony types obtained, amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) showed they had 40 distinct ribotypes. Sequencing and BLAST analysis of the 16S rDNA genes responsible for each representative profile made it possible to identify 27 genera distributed in three major phyla. In female mosquitoes, bacterial isolates were mostly Proteobacteria (51.3%) followed by Firmicutes (30.3%) and Actinobacteria (18.4%). Conversely, Actinobacteria was the most abundant phylum in male mosquitoes (48%) followed by Proteobacteria (30.6%) and Firmicutes (20.4%). The relative abundance and composition of isolates also varied between sampling sites, ranging from 3 distinct families in Ankazobe to 8 in Tsimbazaza Park, and Toamasina and Ambohidratrimo. Pantoea was the most common genus in both females and males from all sampling sites, except for Ambohidratrimo. No differences in genome size were found between Pantoea isolates from mosquitoes and reference strains in pulse field gel electrophoresis. However, according to the numbers and sizes of plasmids, mosquito isolates clustered into three different groups with other strains isolated from insects but distinct from isolates from the environment.


The recent upsurge in research into the functional role of the insect microbiota prompts the interest to better explore the role some bacteria detected here may have in the mosquito biology. Future studies of culturable bacteria might decipher whether they have a biological role in the invasiveness of Ae. albopictus. As a possible candidate for paratransgenesis, the predominant genus Pantoea will be characterized to better understand its genetic contents and any possible influence it may have on vector competence of Ae. albopictus.

Culturable bacteria; Asian tiger mosquito; Pantoea; Plasmids