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Overall project

After World War II strong pesticides such as DDT and chlordane were widely used. Bed bugs almost disappeared completely over several decades because these pesticides were heavily used. Bed bug infestations were limited, and bed bugs were no longer considered a major pest. Eventually, these pesticides were proven harmful to people's health and the environment and as a result their use was prohibited. The absence and resistance to some of the pesticides combined with an increase in cross-continental travel has resulted in bed bug infestations increasing. Current methods include more human friendly pesticides, heat treatment and organics such as oils which the bugs find intolerable are not effective enough to solve the crisis; they are more of a temporary solution. Our novel approach uses Serratia marcescens, a member of the Enterobacteriaceae. It is reported as a highly efficient chitin degrader. We aim to use three chitinase genes obtained from S. marcescens in designing a chitin degrading E. coli. We will not be using s. marcescens but only its genes. The bugs will be exposed to the E. coli via an artificial feeding device.

Project Details

Bed buds

Serratia marcescens


Artificial feeding device