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Ocurrence of the antibiotic producing bacterium Burkholderia sp in colonies of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • A V Santos
  • R J Dillon
  • V M Dillon
  • S E Reynolds
  • R I Samuels
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/10/2004
<mark>Journal</mark>FEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)319-323
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Fungus garden material from recently established Atta sexdens rubropilosa colonies (6-12 months old) was sampled to detect antibiotic producing microorganisms that inhibited the growth of pathogens of insects and of the fungus gardens but did not affect their mutualistic fungus. A bacterium with activity against the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana was isolated from 56% of the gardens tested (n = 57) and identified from its biochemical profile and from 16S and 23S ribosomal DNA sequences as a member of the genus Burkholderia. The ant-associated Burkholderia isolates secreted a potent, anti-fungal agent that inhibited germination of conidia of the entomopathogenic fungi B. bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, of the saprophytic Verticillium lecanii, and also of a specialist fungus garden Escovopsis weberi. Growth of the ant's mutualist fungus was unaffected.