The impact of soil micronutrients on the gut microbiome of orthopterans


The impact of soil micronutrients on the gut microbiome of orthopterans



Melani Katharine Muratore, Caitlin Joanne Schneider



Nutrient limitation and nutrient-related stress can impact animal growth and abundance. An animal’s microbiome can also be affected by environmental and population constraints. The aim of our study is to investigate the role of both macronutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and micronutrients, including sodium, calcium, and potassium, in shaping the gut microbiome of grasshoppers and other orthopterans. Grasshopper and katydid species were obtained from a coastal tall grass prairie in Texas, which was part of a multifactorial fertilization experiment manipulating the presence of macronutrients and sodium, calcium and potassium in all possible combinations, and dissected to harvest the gut, from the crop to the hind gut. We then extracted DNA from 75 orthopteran gut samples and submitted the sames for high throughput 16s and 18s sequencing with plastid filtration by Zymo Research. The sequencing results indicated a wide range of species diversity both within individuals and between them. Alpha diversity rarefraction calculations confirmed sequencing saturation in all samples. Results show a relative abundance of Erwinia, a genus that includes many plant pathogens. Preliminary analysis suggests a relationship specifically between the presence of sodium, coupled with nitrogen and phosphorus and the relative abundance of Erwinia, as well as other taxa. There also appear to be microbiome composition differences between species that are strict herbivores and those that are omnivorous. Our results indicate that both macro and micro nutrients affected the composition of the gut microbiome of these orthopterans and highlight the potential role of the orthopterans in the transmission of plant pathogens.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Kathleen A. Kargl, Chelse M. Prather, Yvonne Y. Sun

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

The impact of soil micronutrients on the gut microbiome of orthopterans