Bacteria, most notably the gut microbiome, have gained increased attention for their role in agriculture and human disease. However study of individual bacterium can be challenging since most bacteria do not grow under simple culture conditions. In a recent study, Blow, et al. have published a draft sequence of the bacteria, Candidatus Erwinia dacicola (Enterobacteriaceae). This bacteria has a symbiotic relationship with the Bactrocera oleae, also known as the olive fly. The larva of the olive fly grow in unripened olives leading to reduced crop yields. The larva has adapted to the special environment of the unripened olive with help from Candidatus Erwinia dacicola bacteria. Without bacteria the larva do not develop.

A key challenge for the characterization of Candidatus Erwinia dacicola is the inability to culture this bacteria. It must be isolated from natural sources which are contaminated with other cells. Therefore, to isolate this bacteria researchers isolated cells from the guts of olive flies. Cells were stained with CellTracker and then sorted on a Sony SH800. Genomic DNA was amplified and used to construct a library which was then used for sequencing.

Understanding this bacteria may lead to improved control of the olive fly and increased yields of olives.


References

Blow F, et al. "Draft Genome Sequence of the Bactrocera oleae Symbiont Candidatus Erwinia dacicola.Genome Announcements 4.5 (2016): e00896-16. PubMed