Background: In the last few years, considerable attention has been focused on the plastic-degrading capability of insects and their gut microbiota in order to develop novel, effective, and green strategies for plastic waste management. Although many analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing are available, an in-depth analysis of the insect gut microbiome to identify genes with plastic-degrading potential is still lacking. Results: In the present work, we aim to fill this gap using Black Soldier Fly (BSF) as insect model. BSF larvae have proven capability to efficiently bioconvert a wide variety of organic wastes but, surprisingly, have never been considered for plastic degradation. BSF larvae were reared on two widely used plastic polymers and shotgun metagenomics was exploited to evaluate if and how plastic-containing diets affect composition and functions of the gut microbial community. The high-definition picture of the BSF gut microbiome gave access for the first time to the genomes of culturable and unculturable microorganisms in the gut of insects reared on plastics and revealed that (i) plastics significantly shaped bacterial composition at species and strain level, and (ii) functions that trigger the degradation of the polymer chains, i.e., DyP-type peroxidases, multicopper oxidases, and alkane monooxygenases, were highly enriched in the metagenomes upon exposure to plastics, consistently with the evidences obtained by scanning electron microscopy and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance analyses on plastics. Conclusions: In addition to highlighting that the astonishing plasticity of the microbiota composition of BSF larvae is associated with functional shifts in the insect microbiome, the present work sets the stage for exploiting BSF larvae as "bioincubators" to isolate microbial strains and enzymes for the development of innovative plastic biodegradation strategies. However, most importantly, the larvae constitute a source of enzymes to be evolved and valorized by pioneering synthetic biology approaches. Video Abstract.

Plastics shape the black soldier fly larvae gut microbiome and select for biodegrading functions / F. De Filippis, M. Bonelli, D. Bruno, G. Sequino, A. Montali, M. Reguzzoni, E. Pasolli, D. Savy, S. Cangemi, V. Cozzolino, G. Tettamanti, D. Ercolini, M. Casartelli, S. Caccia. - In: MICROBIOME. - ISSN 2049-2618. - 11:1(2023), pp. 205.1-205.18. [10.1186/s40168-023-01649-0]

Plastics shape the black soldier fly larvae gut microbiome and select for biodegrading functions

M. Bonelli;M. Casartelli
;
S. Caccia
Ultimo
2023

Abstract

Background: In the last few years, considerable attention has been focused on the plastic-degrading capability of insects and their gut microbiota in order to develop novel, effective, and green strategies for plastic waste management. Although many analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing are available, an in-depth analysis of the insect gut microbiome to identify genes with plastic-degrading potential is still lacking. Results: In the present work, we aim to fill this gap using Black Soldier Fly (BSF) as insect model. BSF larvae have proven capability to efficiently bioconvert a wide variety of organic wastes but, surprisingly, have never been considered for plastic degradation. BSF larvae were reared on two widely used plastic polymers and shotgun metagenomics was exploited to evaluate if and how plastic-containing diets affect composition and functions of the gut microbial community. The high-definition picture of the BSF gut microbiome gave access for the first time to the genomes of culturable and unculturable microorganisms in the gut of insects reared on plastics and revealed that (i) plastics significantly shaped bacterial composition at species and strain level, and (ii) functions that trigger the degradation of the polymer chains, i.e., DyP-type peroxidases, multicopper oxidases, and alkane monooxygenases, were highly enriched in the metagenomes upon exposure to plastics, consistently with the evidences obtained by scanning electron microscopy and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance analyses on plastics. Conclusions: In addition to highlighting that the astonishing plasticity of the microbiota composition of BSF larvae is associated with functional shifts in the insect microbiome, the present work sets the stage for exploiting BSF larvae as "bioincubators" to isolate microbial strains and enzymes for the development of innovative plastic biodegradation strategies. However, most importantly, the larvae constitute a source of enzymes to be evolved and valorized by pioneering synthetic biology approaches. Video Abstract.
Bioconversion; Hermetia illucens; Insect gut microbiome; Insect gut microbiota; Plastic biodegradation
Settore AGR/11 - Entomologia Generale e Applicata
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
2023
14-set-2023
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/1011791
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