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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

House crickets (Othroptera: Gryllidae: Acheta domesticus) reared in small-scale laboratory conditions harbour limited viral flora

Cholleti, Harindranath; Vaga, Merko; Jansson, Anna; Blomström, Anne-Lie; Berg, Mikael


Insects, such as crickets, are being used as a viable food source in many regions of the world, given their nutritional value for human and animal consumption. This study investigated the viral communities present in European house crickets and whether feed influences the composition of the crickets’ virome. The crickets were reared under environmentally controlled conditions and fed fresh red clover (fresh), red clover haylage (haylage), red clover hay (hay) or control feed. The viral metagenomic analysis of six replicates from each feed treatment showed that only a few reads were classified as viruses, mainly assigned to phages and insect-related viruses. A significant difference (P<0.001) was observed between the different treatments in regard to the number of viral reads. The highest number of viral reads was identified in the fresh treatment (2,568 reads), whereas the control treatment had the fewest viral reads (90). Phages were identified in all the treatments; however, they were clearly dominant in the fresh and hay feed treatments. A limited number of insect and plant viral reads from Xinmoviridae, Polydnaviridae, Metaviridae, unclassified and ‘other’ viruses were also found in all the feed treatments. The results from this study may indicate that the feed for the crickets determines the richness of the viral flora of crickets, but overall, very few viral reads were identified, making it hard to draw any conclusion regarding the impact of the feed on viral richness.


insects; feeds; red clover; viruses; metagenomics

Published in

Journal of insects as food and feed
2022, Volume: 8, number: 10, pages: 1149-1155