Talk: Andreas Vilcinskas – “Symbiont-Mediated Evolutionary Success of Insects”
Prof. Andreas Vilcinskas, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology & Institute for of Insect Biotechnology, Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, recently gave a talk during his virtual visit to the CRC 1182 at Kiel University:
“Symbiont-mediated evolutionary success of insects”
In terms of species numbers, insects are the most diverse group of organisms on earth. Their evolutionary success has in part been attributed to their ability to manage associated beneficial microbes in order to utilize unusual diets. Insect-derived microbes are therefore recognized as a bioresource to be explored for human welfare. The presentation highlights how the industrial biotechnology toolbox can be expanded by developing insect-associated microbes as biological resources for the production of enzymes and as tools in their own right, e.g. for the conversion of biomass. Focusing on selected examples such as the black soldier fly Hermetia illucens, the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides or the clothes moth Tineola bisselliella it is demonstrated how advanced and complementary methods covering biochemistry (bioassays, proteomics), molecular biology (genomics, RNA-Seq and candidate gene-centered analysis of insect hosts and their microbiota) and cell biology (cell cultures, enzyme assays, biotechnology-based processing) are used to decipher the interactions between insect species occupying unique ecological niches and their microbiota, emphasizing the partitioning of adaptive processes between the host and symbiont to convert biomass more efficiently.