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Volume 2012, Article ID 269473, 9 pages
Review Article

Host-Symbiont Interactions for Potentially Managing Heteropteran Pests

1Laboratório de Quarentena “Costa Lima”, Embrapa Meio Ambiente, Rodovia SP 340, Km 127,5, Caixa Postal 69, 13820-000 Jaguariúna, SP, Brazil
2Laboratório de Microbiologia Ambiental, Embrapa Meio Ambiente, Rodovia SP 340, Km 127,5, Caixa Postal 69, 13820-000 Jaguariúna, SP, Brazil

Received 27 February 2012; Accepted 27 April 2012

Academic Editor: Jeffrey R. Aldrich

Copyright © 2012 Simone Souza Prado and Tiago Domingues Zucchi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Insects in the suborder Heteroptera, the so-called true bugs, include over 40,000 species worldwide. This insect group includes many important agricultural pests and disease vectors, which often have bacterial symbionts associated with them. Some symbionts have coevolved with their hosts to the extent that host fitness is compromised with the removal or alteration of their symbiont. The first bug/microbial interactions were discovered over 50 years ago. Only recently, mainly due to advances in molecular techniques, has the nature of these associations become clearer. Some researchers have pursued the genetic modification (paratransgenesis) of symbionts for disease control or pest management. With the increasing interest and understanding of the bug/symbiont associations and their ecological and physiological features, it will only be a matter of time before pest/vector control programs utilize this information and technique. This paper will focus on recent discoveries of the major symbiotic systems in Heteroptera, highlighting how the understanding of the evolutionary and biological aspects of these relationships may lead to the development of alternative techniques for efficient heteropteran pest control and suppression of diseases vectored by Heteroptera.