Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Living With Listeria

Wax Moth

Wax Moth Caterpillars

Listeria monocytogenes , a micro-organism capable of causing serious disease and death in humans has been in the news as a contaminant of ice cream products dating back to 2010. A major recall of products has been conducted. Listeria is a bacteria that can be found in soil and water and occasionally in livestock and dairy products. It persists at low temperatures making decontamination difficult.

Listeria can infect numerous living animals including most mammals and some insects. Two insect species, Drosophila melanogaster and Galleria mellonella (the wax moth) are useful model systems for studying Listeria. Optimal growth conditions for wax moth are 37 degrees centigrade, the same as human body temperature. Listeria strains behave similarly in wax moths and other animal models. Strains virulent in mice are also virulent in wax moth. Strains non-infective in mice are non-infective in wax moth. Compared to mice, wax moth caterpillars are cheap and easy to rear, they are easy to inject with pathogen and can supply equivalent tissue to mice studies.

Studies on wax moth caterpillars do not raise many of the ethical issues of studies on mammals. Listeria is not the only disease studied in wax moth. Several pathogens of humans and companion animals can also be studied in wax moth caterpillars.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Health. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Living With Listeria

  1. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Living With Listeria | pestcontrolsutherland

  2. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Living With Listeria | pestcntrlest

  3. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Living With Listeria | pestcntrlrev

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