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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2012 Mar;79(3):581-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01248.x. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

Phylogenetic characterization of bacteria in the gut of house flies (Musca domestica L.).

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Molecular Biology Unit, National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, Maharashtra, India.


House flies (Musca domestica L.) are cosmopolitan, ubiquitous, synanthropic insects that serve as mechanical or biological vectors for various microorganisms. To fully assess the role of house flies in the epidemiology of human diseases, it is essential to understand the diversity of microbiota harbored by natural fly populations. This study aimed to identify the diversity of house fly gut bacteria by both culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches. A total of 102 bacterial strains were isolated from the gut of 65 house flies collected from various public places including a garden, public park, garbage/dump area, public toilet, hospital, restaurant/canteen, mutton shop/market, and house/human habitation. Molecular phylogenetic analyses placed these isolates into 22 different genera. The majority of bacteria identified were known potential pathogens of the genera Klebsiella, Aeromonas, Shigella, Morganella, Providencia, and Staphylococcus. Culture-independent methods involved the construction of a 16S rRNA gene clone library, and sequence analyses supported culture recovery results. However, additional bacterial taxa not determined via culture recovery were revealed using this methodology and included members of the classes Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, and the phylum Bacteroidetes. Here, we show that the house fly gut is an environmental reservoir for a vast number of bacterial species, which may have impacts on vector potential and pathogen transmission.

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