Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Karen M. Kester


Acquisition and retention of spores of an anthrax surrogate, Bacillus atrophaeus Nakamura ("BG") were evaluated in eight insect species. Species included: house cricket (Acheta domesticus L.), German cockroach (Blatella germanica L.), common house fly (Musca domestics L.), blue bottle fly (Calliphora vomitoria L.), hairy rove beetle Creophilus maxillosus L.), yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.), common paper wasps (Polistes exclamans exclamans Viereck), red paper wasps (Polistes Carolina L.), red harvester ant (Pogonymyrmex barbatus Smith). Individual insects were offered BG-treated food and sacrificed at specified time intervals following one, two or three meals. Resulting samples were surface-washed five consecutive times then homogenized to release gut contents, and the homogenate and first and fifth washes were cultured on Trypticase Soy Agar to determine recovery of BG spores. All species delivered spores but BG retention among species varied over time. Results demonstrate the potential of insects to serve as biosentinels for detecting the presence of spore-forming bacteria in the environment.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Biology Commons