Pesky Beetle Destroys Coffee Crops Thanks to Caffeine-Detoxing Gut Microbes

Plants and Animals

Photo credit: bonga1965/Shutterstock.

The coffee berry borer thrives on toxic levels of caffeine. These two-millimeter beetles consume the equivalent of a 68-kilogram (150-pound) person drinking 500 shots of espresso. But with its bitter taste and paralyzing effects, caffeine is supposed to be a natural insect repellent. As it turns out, the beetles rely on gut microbes to break down all of that caffeine, according to new work published in Nature...

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