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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021


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Entomopathogenic bacteria Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus


Bacteria of the genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus are Gammaproteobacteria belonging to the family Morganellaceae (Adeolu et al, 2016) and are both insect pathogens and nematode symbionts. They have developed long-lasting interactions and co-evolved with their nematode hosts Steinernema and Heterorhabditis by contributing strongly to the life cycle as they are housed in the host's digestive tract. The work on bacterial taxonomy initiated by Noël Boemare has established the reputation of our unit worldwide.

Boite Bactéries

Our collection is old and unique. It is regularly updated with new species following surveys carried out by our nematologist collaborators in less populated areas in France or in the world.


Today, the collection contains about 950 strains (of which 300 correspond to FAM bacteria) distributed among 23 species of the genus Xenorhabdus out of 27 described species  (Sajnaga and Kazimierczak, 2020) and 13 species of the genus Photorhabdus out of 19 currently described species (Machado et al, 2021). This collection is a rich resource for our research work and has been valued in contracts or patents with private companies.

Since 2016, the collection has been associated with the environmental pillar of the Agronomic Resource Centre for Research (Mougin et al., 2018).


Adeolu, M., Alnajar, S., Naushad, S., Gupta, R. S. 2016. Genome-based phylogeny and taxonomy of the 'Enterobacteriales': proposal for Enterobacterales ord. nov. divided into the families Enterobacteriaceae, Erwiniaceae fam. nov., Pectobacteriaceae fam. nov., Yersiniaceae fam. nov., Hafniaceae fam. nov., Morganellaceae fam. nov., and Budviciaceae fam. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol, 66, 5575-5599. DOI : 10.1099/ijsem.0.001485.

Machado, R.A.R., Muller, A., Ghazal, S.M., Thanwisai, A., Pages, S., Bode, H.B., et al. 2021Photorhabdus heterorhabditis subsp. aluminescens subsp. nov., Photorhabdus heterorhabditis subsp. heterorhabditis subsp. nov., Photorhabdus australis subsp. thailandensis subsp. nov., Photorhabdus australis subsp. australis subsp. nov., and Photorhabdus aegyptia sp. nov. isolated from Heterorhabditis entomopathogenic nematodes. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol, 71. DOI : 10.1099/ijsem.0.004610.

Mougin, C., Artige, E., Marchand, F., Mondy, S., Ratié, C., Sellier, N., Castagnone, P., Coeur D'Acier, A., Esmenjaud, D., Faivre-Primot, C., Granjon, L., Hamelet, V., Lange, F., Pages, S., Rimet, F., Ris, N., Salle, G. 2018. BRC4Env, a network of biological resource centres for research in environmental and agricultural sciences. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int, 25, 33849–33857. DOI : 10.1007/s11356-018-1973-7.

Sajnaga, E., Kazimierczak, W. 2020. Evolution and taxonomy of nematode-associated entomopathogenic bacteria of the genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus: an overview. Symbiosis, 80, 1–13. DOI : 10.1007/s13199-019-00660-0.