APR 15, 2018 06:46 PM PDT

A Microbe Helps Beetles Ruin Coffee

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch
3 1 102

Learn more from this video about an interesting survival strategy employed by a tiny beetle, the coffee berry borer beetle. They're only a few millimeters long, but they can disrupt coffee supplies as they chow down on coffee plants. Native to Africa, the females have a short lifespan of up to 190 days, and the males only live up to 40 days. These males usually live out their whole life on only one coffee plant, where they bore in and mate with females, who can then lay their eggs their or in another plant.

The caffeine in the coffee plants would be toxic to other insects. But the beetles carry microbes along with them called Pseudomonas fulva. That bacterium can break the caffeine down, allowing the beetle to survive and reproduce.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 17, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 17, 2018
The Chemistry in Airbags
The name "airbag" can be deceiving because the bag is not exactly filled with air. Instead, this life-saving device is filled with nitrogen gas,
JUL 19, 2018
Videos
JUL 19, 2018
Hazmat Spill at Johns Hopkins
Biohazards are a common problem in any kind of scientific research, and if a spill of dangerous materials occurs, it can be deadly. Luckily, a recent spill
JUL 19, 2018
Videos
JUL 19, 2018
The Transition to Multicellular Life May Have Been Simple
It may have been relatively easy for complex organisms to form from one-celled microbes, researchers suggest.
JUL 23, 2018
Videos
JUL 23, 2018
Rare Diseases That Changed Medicine
In the US, a disease is considered rare when it affects fewer than 200,000 people in the whole country. But, in Europe, a disease is considered rare when i
JUL 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 24, 2018
These Animals Experience Harsher Childbirths Than Humans
You might be quick to think that humans have it hard during childbirth, but compared to a few other species in the animal kingdom, humans actually have it
AUG 09, 2018
Videos
AUG 09, 2018
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
Especially during a long hot summer, staying hydrated is essential. Dehydration can have severe consequences in children, the elderly and those with immune
Loading Comments...