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Isolation and Molecular Identification of Serratia Nematodiphila associated with Red Palm Weevil, Rhynchophorus Olivier (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) as bio-insecticide in Egypt

Mahmoud Abbas Ali1, Mervat A. B. Mahmoud2, Muhammad Shoaib3, Zeeshan Ahmad Bhutta4*, Nada M. Ali5, Nadeem Ali6, Hani Z. Asfour7, Nisreen Rajeh8, Mohamed R. Eletmany9,10

1Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt

2Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt

3Key Laboratory of New Animal Drug Project, Gansu Province/Key Laboratory of Veterinary Pharmaceutical Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs/Lanzhou Institute of Husbandry and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou 730050, China

4Laboratory of Veterinary Immunology and Biochemistry, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 28644, Republic of Korea

5Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Al-Baha University, Al-Baha 65799,  Saudi Arabia

6Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia

7Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

8Department of Clinical Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia

9Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt

10TECS Department, Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University, Raleigh 27606, USA


The red palm weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is a major date palm pest. In this study, we aimed to isolate and identify the Serratia nematodiphila from RPW as potential biocontrol agents. We isolated the bacteria from infected RPW larvae and adults and identified using colony morphology characteristics, biochemical tests, and PCR followed by 16S rRNA sequencing. This is the first study reporting the Serratia nematodiphila as an extracellular symbiont of RPW from Egypt. The potential of this bacteria to be used as biocontrol agent was conducted by a screening bioassay through its effect on RPW eggs. The study noted that treated eggs were unable to hatch and not turned red in color, indicating the potential of this bacteria to be used as bio-pesticide. These results presented novel insights into the microbiome of RPW and suggest the potential of Serratia nematodiphila as a biocontrol agent for RPW management. Moreover, further studies are required to explore the mechanism and potential of these bacteria in field applications. Nevertheless, this study provides a promising direction for the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly RPW management strategies.

Keywords: Red Palm Weevils (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Serratia nematodiphila, Biocontrol agent

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