Responses of a bacterial pathogen to phosphorus limitation of its aquatic invertebrate host
Frost, Paul C.
Smith, Val H.
The Ecological Society of America
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
Copyright by the Ecological Society of America
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Host nutrition is thought to affect the establishment, persistence, and severity of pathogenic infections. Nutrient-deficient foods possibly benefit pathogens by constraining host immune function or benefit hosts by limiting parasite growth and reproduction. However, the effects of poor elemental food quality on a host’s susceptibility to infection and disease have received little study. Here we show that the bacterial microparasite Pasteuria ramosa is affected by the elemental nutrition of its aquatic invertebrate host, Daphnia magna. We found that high food carbon : phosphorus (C:P) ratios significantly reduced infection rates of Pasteuria in Daphnia and led to lower within-host pathogen multiplication. In addition, greater virulent effects of bacterial infection on host reproduction were found in Daphniaconsuming P-deficient food. Poor Daphnia elemental nutrition thus reduced the growth and reproduction of its bacterial parasite, Pasteuria. The effects of poor host nutrition on the pathogen were further evidenced by Pasteuria’s greater inhibition of reproduction in P-limited Daphnia. Our results provide strong evidence that elemental food quality can significantly influence the incidence and intensity of infectious disease in invertebrate hosts.
Frost, P. C., Ebert, D., & Smith, V. H. (2008). Responses of a bacterial pathogen to phosphorus limitation of its aquatic invertebrate host. Ecology, 89(2), 313–318. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/07-0389.1
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