2015 Volume 30 Issue 1 Pages 29-36
The stinkbug Cavelerius saccharivorus, which harbors Burkholderia species capable of degrading the organophosphorus insecticide, fenitrothion, has been identified on a Japanese island in farmers’ sugarcane fields that have been exposed to fenitrothion. A clearer understanding of the ecology of the symbiotic fenitrothion degraders of Burkholderia species in a free-living environment is vital for advancing our knowledge on the establishment of degrader-stinkbug symbiosis. In the present study, we analyzed the composition and abundance of degraders in sugarcane fields on the island. Degraders were recovered from field samples without an enrichment culture procedure. Degrader densities in the furrow soil in fields varied due to differences in insecticide treatment histories. Over 99% of the 659 isolated degraders belonged to the genus Burkholderia. The strains related to the stinkbug symbiotic group predominated among the degraders, indicating a selection for this group in response to fenitrothion. Degraders were also isolated from sugarcane stems, leaves, and rhizosphere in fields that were continuously exposed to fenitrothion. Their density was lower in the plant sections than in the rhizosphere. A phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences demonstrated that most of the degraders from the plants and rhizosphere clustered with the stinkbug symbiotic group, and some were identical to the midgut symbionts of C. saccharivorus collected from the same field. Our results confirmed that plants and the rhizosphere constituted environmental reservoirs for stinkbug symbiotic degraders. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the composition and abundance of the symbiotic fenitrothion degraders of Burkholderia species in farmers’ fields.