Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Beneficial insects, nematodes not harmed by genetically modified, insect-resistant crops

03.02.2014
A large body of literature has shown that genetically-modified plants that produce proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to protect themselves from insect pests have little to no effect on a wide range of nontarget insects.

However, concerns about Bt crops still exist. Now two new studies using more exacting methods show that Bt crops have no negative effects on two beneficial insect predators or on a beneficial, entomopathogenic nematode.


This shows Geocoris punctipes feeding on an unidentified Homopteran.

Credit: Russ Ottens, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

In an article in the February 2014 issue of Environmental Entomology, called "Using Resistant Prey Demonstrates that Bt Plants Producing Cry1Ac, Cry2Ab, and Cry1F Have No Negative Effects on Geocoris punctipes and Orius insidiosus," researchers used caterpillars that were known to be resistant to Bt proteins and fed them Bt maize and Bt cotton.

They then fed the caterpillars to two common, beneficial, predatory insects -- insidious flower bugs (Orius insidiosus), and big-eyed bugs (Geocoris punctipes) -- for two generations and compared them to another group of predators that consumed caterpillars fed on non-Bt plants.

The researchers found that the survival, development, adult mass, fecundity, and fertility of the insect predators in both groups were similar, regardless of whether they consumed caterpillars that fed on Bt plants or non-Bt plants.

"This research demonstrates that the current Bt proteins used in corn and cotton crops globally do not harm Geocoris punctipes or Orius insidious, two important insect predators that help suppress pest populations on corn, cotton, and many other crops," said Dr. Anthony Shelton, a professor of entomology at Cornell University and one of the co-authors. "By using caterpillars resistant to the Bt proteins in this study, we were able to remove any 'host quality effects' that might have led to spurious misinterpretation of the results. This work demonstrated that the caterpillars consumed the Bt proteins, and the predators consumed the Bt proteins when they fed on the caterpillars, but they did not suffer any harm even over multiple generations."

In a similar article appearing in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology called "Tri-Trophic Studies Using Cry1Ac-Resistant Plutella xylostella Demonstrate No Adverse Effects of Cry1Ac on the Entomopathogenic Nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora," Shelton and his colleagues used similar methods and found that an important nematode predator was not harmed when it ingested another Bt protein. For this study, resistant caterpillars were fed Bt broccoli and then exposed to Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, a beneficial nematode that preys on insects.

The researchers found that the virulence, reproductive potential, and time of emergence of the nematodes that consumed Bt-fed caterpillars were not significantly affected, compared to nematodes that did not ingest the Bt protein.

"This is the first report we are aware of in which a nematode predator has been tested in such detail against a Bt protein," Dr. Shelton said.

"Together, these two studies add to the scientific literature demonstrating that Bt plants can control targeted insect pests while not harming important natural enemies that help suppress pest species and maintain biodiversity in agricultural systems," Shelton added.

The Environmental Entomology article is avaliabe at: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EN13184

The Journal of Economic Entomology article is avaliabe at: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC13310

Environmental Entomology and the Journal of Economic Entomology are published by the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 6,500 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists.

Dr. Anthony Shelton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.entsoc.org
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Hunting pressure on forest animals in Africa is on the increase
09.02.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects than previously thought
05.02.2016 | University of Southampton

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

Im Focus: Superconductivity: footballs with no resistance

Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.

Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...

Im Focus: Wbp2 is a novel deafness gene

Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...

Im Focus: From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.

"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

Body temperature triggers newly developed polymer to change shape

09.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Using renewable energy in heating networks more efficiently

09.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>