Towards an integrated understanding of gut microbiota using insects as model systems

Mathieu Pernice, Stephen J. Simpson, Fleur Ponton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Metazoans form symbioses with microorganisms that synthesize essential nutritional compounds and increase their efficiency to digest and absorb nutrients. Despite the growing awareness that microbes within the gut play key roles in metabolism, health and development of metazoans, symbiotic relationships within the gut are far from fully understood. Insects, which generally harbor a lower microbial diversity than vertebrates, have recently emerged as potential model systems to study these interactions. In this review, we give a brief overview of the characteristics of the gut microbiota in insects in terms of low diversity but high variability at intra- and interspecific levels and we investigate some of the ecological and methodological factors that might explain such variability. We then emphasize how studies integrating an array of techniques and disciplines have the potential to provide new understanding of the biology of this micro eco-system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Gut microbiota
  • Insects
  • Nutrition


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