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Larvae protected from pathogens: beewolf digger wasps


Beewolf digger wasp / Alvesgaspar / LicenseCC-by-sa - Attribution Share Alike

The larvae of beewolf digger wasps are protected from pathogenic microbes thanks to bacterial symbionts.

"Beewolf digger wasps cultivate specific symbiotic bacteria (Streptomyces spp.) that are incorporated into the larval cocoon for protection against pathogens. We identified the molecular basis of this protective symbiosis in the natural context and demonstrate that the bacteria produce a 'cocktail' of nine antibiotic substances. The complementary action of all symbiont-produced antibiotics confers a potent antimicrobial defense for the wasp larvae that parallels the 'combination prophylaxis' known from human medicine." (Kroiss et al. 2010:261)
About the inspiring organism
Med_789pxwasp_august_200712 Philanthus

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Learning about antibiotic combinations that protect from a spectrum of pathogens. Strengthening natural resident bacteria for fighting disease.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Medicine

Insect Symbiosis Research Group
Dr. Martin Kaltenpoth
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Kroiss J; Kaltenpoth M; Schneider B; Schwinger M; Hertweck C; Maddula RK; Strohm E; SvatoŇ° A. 2010. Symbiotic streptomycetes provide antibiotic combination prophylaxis for wasp offspring. Nature Chemical Biology. 6: 261 - 263.
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2010. Beewolves protect their offspring with antibiotics; digger wasp larvae use bacteria against infections. Science Daily [Internet],
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