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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versão impressa ISSN 1519-6984versão On-line ISSN 1678-4375

Resumo

PINTO, L. M. N.; AZAMBUJA, A. O.; DIEHL, E.  e  FIUZA, L. M.. Pathogenicity of Bacillus thuringiensis isolated from two species of Acromyrmex (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2003, vol.63, n.2, pp.301-306. ISSN 1519-6984.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-69842003000200015.

The control of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants is necessary due to the severe damage they cause to diverse crops. A possibility was to control them using the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that characteristically produces insecticidal crystal proteins (ICPs). The ICPs have been effective in controlling lepidopterans, dipterans, and coleopterans, but their action against hymenopterans is unknown. This paper describes an attempt to isolate Bt from ants of two Acromyrmex species, to evaluate its pathogenicity towards these ants, and to test isolates by PCR. Bacterial isolates of Bt obtained from A. crassispinus and A. lundi have been assayed against A. lundi in the laboratory. The bioassays were carried out in BOD at 25°C, with a 12-hour photoperiod, until the seventh day after treatment. The Bt isolates obtained were submitted to total DNA extraction and tested by PCR with primers specific to cry genes. The results showed Bt presence in 40% of the assessed samples. The data from the in vivo assays showed a mortality rate higher than 50% in the target population, with the Bt HA48 isolate causing 100% of corrected mortality. The PCR results of Bt isolates showed a magnification of DNA fragments relative to cry1 genes in 22% of the isolates, and cry9 in 67%. Cry2, cry3, cry7, and cry8 genes were not detected in the tested samples, and 22% had no magnified DNA fragments corresponding to the assessed cry genes. The results are promising not only regarding allele identification in new isolates, but also fort the assays aimed at determining the Bt HA48 LC50's, which can eventually be applied in controlling of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

Palavras-chave : bioassay; leaf-cutting ants; Bacillus thuringiensis.

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