Our doctoral candidate Yobana Andrea Mariño, attended last May 17-20 the 114th General Meeting of American Society for Microbiology in Boston, Massachusetts-USA. Yobana presented a paper titled: Wolbachia affects the reproduction of the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) Hypothenemus hampei (Coleoptera:Curuculionidae).
Wolbachia is a widely distributed endosymbiotic bacterium of insects that manipulate the reproduction of their hosts, in order to produce mainly infected females; while the CBB is a beetle that feed and reproduces on the coffee fruits and is considered as the most devastating coffee pest in the world. The manipulation of endosymbiotic bacteria as Wolbachia is a new tool to management insects in agricultural and health systems.
In her research Yobana reported the presence of Wolbachia in CBB; also she found that the elimination of Wolbachia by using antibiotics (tetracycline) reduced significantly the reproduction rate of the CBB population. This information provides insights for improved management of CBB populations and to mitigate the damage to coffee crops.