Occurrence, characterization and insecticidal activity of Bacillus thuringiensis strains isolated from argan fields in Morocco
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AutorAboussaid,H.; Vidal-Quist,J. C.; Oufdou,K.; El Messoussi,S.; Castanera,P.; Gonzalez-Cabrera,J.
Soils collected from five locations in the argan forest (an endemic plant) in Morocco were used to form the first collection of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) strains from this area (58 strains). Here we found that the argan forest is a major source of Bt, as 90.62% of the samples contained Bt strains. These strains produced mainly spherical or irregular crystals that in some cases remained adhered to the spore after cell lysis. There was no strain producing bipyramidal crystals, suggesting the absence of strains bearing cry1 genes. This was confirmed by PCR analysis using eight primer pairs that can potentially detect 13 different groups of cry and cyt genes. Strains containing cry7/8 were the most abundant (25.53%), followed by strains harbouring cry9A (14.89%), cry11 (8.51%) and cry4 (4.25%). The mixtures of spores and crystals as well as culture supernatants were assayed for toxicity towards Ceratitis capitata (Medfly), showing up to 30% mortality. Our findings suggest that the argan region is a suitable target for future and wider screening programmes looking for strains bearing toxins or combinations of them to develop more efficient Bt-based formulates.