Diversity of Bacillus thuringiensis Strains From Qatar as Shown by Crystal Morphology, d-Endotoxins and Cry Gene Content
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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) based insecticidal formulations have been recognized as one of the most successful, environmentally safe and sustainable method of controlling insect pests. Research teams worldwide are in search of Bt diversity giving more choices of bio-insecticides and alternatives to address insect resistance. In fact, there are many unexplored ecologies that could harbor novel Bt strains. This study is the first initiative to explore Bt strain diversity in Qatar. A collection of 700 Bt isolates was constructed. Scanning electron microscopy of Bt crystals showed different crystal forms, with a high abundance of spherical crystals compared to the bipyramidal ones. Among the spherical crystals, four differentmorphologies were observed. The d-endotoxin content of parasporal crystals fromeach Bt isolate revealed that there are 16 different protein profiles among the isolates of the collection. On the other hand, plasmid pattern analysis showed seven different plasmid profiles. Their insecticidal activity was predicted by exploring the d-endotoxin coding genes and conducting qualitative insecticidal bioassays. 19 smooth spherical crystal producing isolates have been identified that could be possible candidates for endotoxin production targeting Dipteran insects. Another group of 259 isolates producing bipyramidal and cuboidal crystals could target Lepidopteran and Coleopteran insects. The remaining 422 isolates have novel profiles. In conclusion, Qatari soil ecology provides a good collection and diversity of Bt isolates. In addition to strains harboring genes encoding common endotoxins, the majority are different and very promising for the search of novel insecticidal endotoxins.
- Biological & Environmental Sciences [376 items ]