Enterobacteria-mediated nitrogen fixation in natural populations of the fruit fly Ceratitis capitata

A. Behar, B. Yuval, E. Jurkevitch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


Nitrogen, although abundant in the atmosphere, is paradoxically a limited resource for multicellular organisms. In the Animalia, biological nitrogen fixation has solely been demonstrated in termites. We found that all individuals of field-collected Mediterranean fruit flies (Ceratitis capitata) harbour large diazotrophic enterobacterial populations that express dinitrogen reductase in the gut. Moreover, nitrogen fixation was demonstrated in isolated guts and in live flies and may significantly contribute to the fly's nitrogen intake. The presence of similar bacterial consortia in additional insect orders suggests that nitrogen fixation occurs in vast pools of terrestrial insects. On such a large scale, this phenomenon may have a considerable impact on the nitrogen cycle.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2637-2643
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Ceratitis
  • DGGE
  • Diazotrophs
  • Insecta
  • Klebsiella
  • Nitrogen fixation


Dive into the research topics of 'Enterobacteria-mediated nitrogen fixation in natural populations of the fruit fly Ceratitis capitata'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this