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See detailAre bogs reservoirs for emerging disease vectors? Evaluation of Culicoides populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium)
Zimmer, Jean-Yves ULg; Losson, Bertrand ULg; Smeets, François ULg et al

Poster (2013, October)

Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vec{ors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus in northern Europe. since ... [more ▼]

Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vec{ors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus in northern Europe. since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is nou, âvailable that describe the distribuüon, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaÿ marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby caftle farm. High numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them were Culicoides impunc{atus, a potential vector of BïV and other pâthogens. ln addition, fewer numbers of c. obsoletus/c. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst Evidence of a Volatile Sex Pheromone in Harmonia axyridis (Pallas)
Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Fischer, Christophe ULg; Durieux, Delphine ULg et al

Poster (2013, October)

Until now, no volatile sex pheromone has been highlighted in Coccinellidae but various studies have suggested the existence of such molecules. In the present work, we have sampled volatile organic ... [more ▼]

Until now, no volatile sex pheromone has been highlighted in Coccinellidae but various studies have suggested the existence of such molecules. In the present work, we have sampled volatile organic compounds released in the headspace of virgin females in the multicolored Asian ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), that were either allowed or not to feed on pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris). When fed on aphids, virgin females showed a stereotypical “calling behavior”, commonly associated with the emission of a sex pheromone in several Coleoptera species. Behavioral assays conducted with calling females in a four-arm olfactometer demonstrated that the blend of released volatile compounds was attractive at a distance for males, but not for other females. The headspace of virgin females that were not previously fed with aphids was not attractive for either sex. GC-MS analyses revealed the presence of five compounds in the volatile blend: (–)-β-caryophyllene, β-elemene, methyl-eugenol, α-humulene and α-bulnesene. Subsequently, we have collected and quantified the constituents from the blend over a period of 9 days after exposure to aphids. All five compounds were produced exclusively after feeding virgin females with aphids, and their quantity significantly increased during the whole period of collection. (–)-β-caryophyllene was found to be the major constituent, representing between 80 and 86 % of the total blend. All these results could promote the development of more specific and efficient management methods to manipulate the movements of this invasive ladybeetle and to reduce its negative impacts on biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Multicoloured Asian Ladybird, invasive or not in agroecosystems ?
Vandereycken, Axel ULg; Durieux, Delphine ULg; Fassotte, Bérénice ULg et al

Poster (2013, September 10)

The Multicoloured Asian Ladybird, Harmonia axyridis Pallas (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is known to thrive principally in shrubby and arboreal habitats. Its occurrence in agroecosystems remains poorly ... [more ▼]

The Multicoloured Asian Ladybird, Harmonia axyridis Pallas (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is known to thrive principally in shrubby and arboreal habitats. Its occurrence in agroecosystems remains poorly documented. This study focuses on the occurrence of this exotic species and its seasonal abundance in various field crops. The abundance of adults and larvae of H. axyridis was evaluated over a four-year period, from 2009 to 2012, in four important agronomical crops (wheat, corn, broad bean and potato) in Belgium. A total of 28 aphid predator species were observed including 14 coccinellid species, 13 hoverfly species and one lacewing species. H. axyridis is present and reproduces in all of the four crops studied, with the largest numbers recorded in corn and broad bean crops. In corn, H. axyridis numbers were found to increase over the four inventoried year, reaching 86% of the aphid predators in 2012, while it represented only 15% in 2009. H. axyridis was not always recorded where aphids were abundant, e.g. aphids were abundant on wheat where no H. axyridis were recorded. H. axyridis starts reproducing after the peak in aphid population, suggesting that H. axyridis is able to complete its development by feeding on alternative prey such as larvae and pupae of the same and other species of ladybird and other aphidophagous species. H. axyridis is often considered to be bivoltine but it only completes one generation per year in field crops. The second generation generally develops late in the season in other habitats. Harmonia axyridis is an invasive and an intraguild predator present in high quantities in some specific crops. In these crops, H. axyridis could negatively impact on population of native species due to IGP observed in several other studies. [less ▲]

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See detailProteomic Investigation of Aphid Honeydew Reveals an Unexpected Diversity of Proteins
Sabri, Ahmed; Vandermoten, Sophie ULg; Leroy, Pascal et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(9),

Aphids feed on the phloem sap of plants, and are the most common honeydew-producing insects. While aphid honeydew is primarily considered to comprise sugars and amino acids, its protein diversity has yet ... [more ▼]

Aphids feed on the phloem sap of plants, and are the most common honeydew-producing insects. While aphid honeydew is primarily considered to comprise sugars and amino acids, its protein diversity has yet to be documented. Here, we report on the investigation of the honeydew proteome from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. Using a two-Dimensional <br />Differential in-Gel Electrophoresis (2D-Dige) approach, more than 140 spots were isolated, demonstrating that aphid honeydew also represents a diverse source of proteins. About 66% of the isolated spots were identified through mass spectrometry analysis, revealing that the protein diversity of aphid honeydew originates from several organisms (i.e. the host aphid and its microbiota, including endosymbiotic bacteria and gut flora). Interestingly, our experiments also allowed to identify some proteins like chaperonin, GroEL and Dnak chaperones, elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), and flagellin that might act as mediators in the plant-aphid interaction. In addition to providing the first aphid honeydew proteome analysis, we propose to reconsider the importance of this substance, mainly acknowledged to be a waste product, from the aphid <br />ecology perspective. [less ▲]

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See detailLes vers à soie malgaches - Enjeux écologiques et socio-économiques
Verheggen, François ULg; Bogaert, Jan ULg; Haubruge, Eric ULg

Book published by Presses agronomiques de Gembloux (2013)

Cet ouvrage reflète les réalisations et activités scientifiques du projet de coopération universitaire « Gestion et valorisation durable du ver à soie endémique Borocera cajani en milieu forestier dans la ... [more ▼]

Cet ouvrage reflète les réalisations et activités scientifiques du projet de coopération universitaire « Gestion et valorisation durable du ver à soie endémique Borocera cajani en milieu forestier dans la région d’Antananarivo » financé par la Commission Universitaire pour le Développement (CUD). Ce projet de recherche est le fruit d’une collaboration étroite entre le Département des Eaux et Forêts de l’école Supérieure des Sciences Agronomiques de l’Université d’Antananarivo, l’Université de Liège et l’Université Libre de Bruxelles. Une première section de l’ouvrage porte sur les aspects biologiques et écologiques des vers à soie endémiques de Madagascar – avec l’accent sur le landibe (Borocera cajani) – notamment sa morphologie, l’estimation de son abondance dans l’aire étudiée, la dynamique de ses populations, ses interactions avec ses plantes hôtes, son comportement d’alimentation et son développement larvaire. La deuxième section étudie les dimensions écologiques et botaniques de l’habitat des vers à soie, à savoir les formations de tapia (Uapaca bojeri), principalement à travers les aspects sylvicoles et botaniques, les causes et indicateurs de dégradation, la discussion autour de sa dénomination, la diversité floristique, la régénération et l’inventaire des ressources sauvages comestibles et leurs caractéristiques chimiques. La troisième section renseigne sur l’état et la valorisation de la filière soie et couvre une diversité d’approches, allant des connaissances et savoir-faire des communautés locales au rôle de la soie dans l’économie rurale. Le contexte socio-institutionnel ainsi que les interactions entre les acteurs concernés par la filière complètent ce volet. L’ouvrage contient 21 contributions scientifiques, rédigées par 34 auteurs, dont certains ont déjà fait l’objet d’une publication dans une revue internationale. Le volume a été composé sous la direction scientifique de François J. Verheggen, Jan Bogaert et éric Haubruge, enseignants à Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Université de Liège). Il s’adresse à tous ceux qui s’intéressent à la coopération universitaire et/ou aux recherches écologiques, entomologiques et sociologiques dans un contexte malgache. [less ▲]

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See detailDiversity of forensic rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) associated with decaying pig carcass in a forest biotope
Dekeirsschieter, Jessica ULg; Frederickx, Christine ULg; Verheggen, François ULg et al

in Journal of Forensic Sciences (2013)

Most forensic studies are focused on Diptera pattern colonization while neglecting Coleoptera succession. So far, little information is available on the postmortem colonization by beetles and the ... [more ▼]

Most forensic studies are focused on Diptera pattern colonization while neglecting Coleoptera succession. So far, little information is available on the postmortem colonization by beetles and the decomposition process they initiate under temperate biogeoclimatic countries. These beetles have however been referred to as being part of the entomofaunal colonization of a dead body. Forensic entomologists need increased databases detailing the distribution, ecology and phenology of necrophagous insects, including staphylinids (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae). While pig carcasses are commonly used in forensic entomology studies to surrogate human decomposition and to investigate the entomofaunal succession, very few works have been conducted in Europe on large carcasses. Our work reports the monitoring of the presence of adult rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) on decaying pig carcasses in a forest biotope during four seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter). A total of 23 genera comprising 60 species of rove beetles were collected from pig carcasses. [less ▲]

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See detailIsolation and Cultivation of a Xylanolytic Bacillus subtilis Extracted from the Gut of the Termite Reticulitermes santonensis
Tarayre, Cédric ULg; Brognaux, Alison ULg; Brasseur, Catherine ULg et al

in Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2013)

The aim of this work was the isolation of xylanolytic microorganisms from the digestive tract of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis. The reducing sugars released after the hydrolysis of xylans can be ... [more ▼]

The aim of this work was the isolation of xylanolytic microorganisms from the digestive tract of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis. The reducing sugars released after the hydrolysis of xylans can be further fermented to provide bioethanol. A xylanolytic strain of Bacillus subtilis was isolated from the hindgut of the termite and displayed amylase and xylanase activities. The bacterium was grown on media containing agricultural residues: wheat bran, wheat distiller’s grains, and rapeseed oil cake. Wheat bran led to the highest induction of xylanase activity, although the development of the strain was less fast than in the other media. It was possible to reach maximal xylanase activities of 44.3, 33.5, and 29.1 I.U./ml in the media containing wheat bran, wheat distiller’s grains, and rapeseed oil cake, respectively. Mass spectrometry identified a wide range of xylose oligomers, highlighting an endoxylanase activity. The enzyme was stable up to 45 °C and displayed an optimal pH close to 8. [less ▲]

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See detailAre Bogs Reservoirs for Emerging Disease Vectors? Evaluation of Culicoides Populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium)
Zimmer, Jean-Yves ULg; Smeets, François ULg; Simonon, Grégory et al

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(6),

Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe ... [more ▼]

Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. [less ▲]

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See detailOccurrence of aphid predator species in both organic and conventional corn and broad bean
Vandereycken, Axel ULg; Joie, Emilie ULg; Francis, Frédéric ULg et al

in Entomologie Faunistique = Faunistic Entomology (2013), 66

Organic farming has been suggested to enhance beneficial species abundance and diversity in agrosystem habitats. In this study, the abundance of aphid predators was compared in organic and conventional ... [more ▼]

Organic farming has been suggested to enhance beneficial species abundance and diversity in agrosystem habitats. In this study, the abundance of aphid predators was compared in organic and conventional corn and broad bean fields during a two-year inventory. In both farming strategies, there were no differences between species diversity. Five aphid predator species were mainly observed: Coccinella septempunctata L. 1758 (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), Propylea quatuordecimpunctata (L. 1758) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), Harmonia axyridis Pallas 1773 (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens 1836) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) and Episyrphus balteatus (De Geer 1776) (Diptera: Syrphidae). Differences in abundance of aphidophagous species between conventional and organic crop fields were observed even if not always in favour of the latter condition. The abundance of the five above- mentioned aphidophagous species varied for the most part according to almost all the observed parameters, including sampled year, crop and agricultural practices. In conclusion, our findings do not support organic practices in corn and broad bean as key options to increase the biodiversity and abundance of aphid natural enemies. [less ▲]

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See detailIsolation and cultivation of cellulolytic and xylanolytic bacteria and molds extracted from the gut of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis (3DV.1.14)
Tarayre, Cédric ULg; Bauwens, Julien ULg; Mattéotti, Christel et al

Poster (2013, June)

Biofuel production can be based on the use of agro-residues, consisting in a complex lignocellulosic structure which is not easily hydrolysable. The digestive tract of the termite Reticulitermes ... [more ▼]

Biofuel production can be based on the use of agro-residues, consisting in a complex lignocellulosic structure which is not easily hydrolysable. The digestive tract of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis contains a diversified microflora able to hydrolyze the wood components. Bacteria, molds and protists form efficient consortia, able to break the lignocellulosic complex by producing enzymes, such as xylanases and cellulases. Our purpose is the isolation of microbial strains from termite guts in order to evaluate their potential for hydrolysis of lignocellulosic materials. Termites were fed using different diets chosen to improve the xylanolytic and cellulolytic microflora: wood, microcristalline cellulose (added with lignin or not), α-cellulose (added with lignin or not) and birchwood xylan. Then, dissections were realized to isolate the potential xylanolytic and cellulolytic strains. This approach led us to isolate and to study several strains of bacteria (Bacillus sp. strain CTGx and Chryseobacterium sp. strain CTGx) and molds (Trichoderma virens strain CTGx and Sarocladium kiliense strain CTGx). These microorganisms were able to hydrolyze starch, xylan, cellulose, carboxymethylcellulose, esculin, β-glucan and Whatman® filter paper. They can produce glucose and xylose monomers and oligomers which can be further fermented to produce bioethanol. [less ▲]

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See detailIs Contact Between Conspecifics Involved in the Cohesion of Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) Aggregations?
Durieux, Delphine ULg; Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Fischer, Christophe ULg et al

in Journal of Insect Behavior (2013)

The multicolored Asian ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), exhibits a gregarious behavior during unfavorable winter conditions. Although this behavior is currently described as a phenomenon occurring ... [more ▼]

The multicolored Asian ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), exhibits a gregarious behavior during unfavorable winter conditions. Although this behavior is currently described as a phenomenon occurring only during winter, aggregations can also be observed outside overwintering conditions. However, the substrate markings previously highlighted as being involved in the wintry aggregation of this exotic species do not seem to be used by non-overwintering individuals to aggregate. This fact suggests then that other cues are responsible for the induction of this behavior. In this work, we have tested the hypothesis that direct contact between non-overwintering individuals stimulates the establishment of clusters. Binary choice experiments highlighted the involvement of elytral cuticular compounds in this phenomenon. Chromatographic analyses showed that the active extracts contained mainly hydrocarbons, including saturated, mono-unsaturated, and di-unsaturated homologues. Physical contact also seems to be involved in the non-overwintering aggregative behavior of H. axyridis, but to a lesser extent than these natural compounds. These findings could eventually be used to develop new control methods of these pest populations and so, reduce the adverse impacts it causes on biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailResearch of New Enzyme Producing Strains in the Gut of the Termite Reticulitermes santonensis
Tarayre, Cédric ULg; Bauwens, Julien ULg; Mattéotti, Christel et al

Poster (2013, June)

Termites contain a complex microflora inside of their guts. Inferior termites contain bacteria, mycetes and protists that interact to degrade vegetable components. These strains act as consortia to break ... [more ▼]

Termites contain a complex microflora inside of their guts. Inferior termites contain bacteria, mycetes and protists that interact to degrade vegetable components. These strains act as consortia to break natural materials by secreting various enzymes. Our aim was the isolation and cultivation of microorganisms in order to produce new enzymes that can be further used in green chemistry. Termites were fed with different diets: pinewood, microcristalline cellulose (added with lignin or not), α-cellulose (added with lignin or not) and birchwood xylan. Then, dissections were realized to isolate interesting strains. All the microorganisms were subjected to enzyme assays. That technique allowed us to isolate and to cultivate various strains of bacteria, molds and protists. Three strains of bacteria, two strains of molds and one strain of protist were isolated and displayed different enzymatic activities. The bacteria Bacillus subtilis strain ABGx, Bacillus sp. strain CTGx and Chryseobacterium sp. strain CTGx displayed amylase, cellulase and xylanase activities. The molds Trichoderma virens strain CTGx and Sarocladium kiliense strain CTGx were also able to produce those enzymes. However, the protist Poterioochromonas sp. was found to produce only amylase. In conlusion, the termite gut is a complex culivation medium that provides a habitat for many microorganisms that show interesting enzymatic activities. [less ▲]

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See detailElectrophysiological and behavioural responses of Thanatophilus sinuatus F. (Coleoptera: Silphidae) to selected cadaveric volatile organic compounds
Dekeirsschieter, Jessica ULg; Frederickx, Christine ULg; Lognay, Georges ULg et al

in Journal of Forensic Sciences (2013)

Soon after death, carcasses release volatile chemicals that attract carrion insects including Silphidae. Nevertheless, it is not known which chemical cues are involved in the attractiveness of the carcass ... [more ▼]

Soon after death, carcasses release volatile chemicals that attract carrion insects including Silphidae. Nevertheless, it is not known which chemical cues are involved in the attractiveness of the carcass. So far, little information is available on the chemical ecology of carrion beetles, particularly concerning the subfamily of Silphinae. The biological role of selected cadaveric volatile organic compounds including: dimethyldisulfide (DMDS), butan-1-ol, n-butanoic acid, indole, phenol, p-cresol, putrescine, and cadaverine on the silphine species, Thanatophilus sinuatus Fabricius, was investigated by using both electrophysiological and behavioural techniques. Among the tested cadaveric compounds, butan-1-ol and DMDS elicited the strongest EAG from both T. sinuatus male and female antennae. In a two-arm olfactometer, males and females were significantly attracted to dimethyldisulfide (DMDS) for both tested doses, whereas only males were attracted to p-cresol at 100 ng. Putrescine was repellent to males at the dose of 1 µg [less ▲]

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