Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bt sweet corn can reduce insecticide use

07.10.2013
A new study finds that genetically modified sweet corn is better for the environment and safer for farm workers

Since 1996, corn containing a gene that allows it to create a protein that is toxic to certain insects, yet safe for human consumption, has been grown in the United States.

However, most of this "Bt corn" has been used for animal feed or processed into corn meal, starch, or other products. Although varieties of sweet corn (corn on the cob) have existed since the late 1990s, relatively few acres have been planted.

Due to pressure from activist groups, some grocery stores have refused to carry Bt sweet corn. However, a new study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology suggests that Bt sweet corn is better for the environment because it requires fewer pesticide applications than conventional corn.

"Our data suggest that using Bt sweet corn will dramatically reduce the use of traditional insecticides," the authors wrote. "Based on the performance of Bt field corn, growers should realize increased profits and there will be less risk to nontarget organisms, including natural enemies that help suppress pest densities."

The study, "Multi-State Trials of Bt Sweet Corn Varieties for Control of the Corn Earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)," analyzed the performance of Bt sweet corn, comparing its rate of infestation and marketability to genetically identical varieties that lacked Bt proteins. In 2010 and 2011, sweet corn trials were conducted in New York, Minnesota, Maryland, Ohio and Georgia, locations that differ in climate, management practices and pest pressure. The authors found that for pest management of the corn earworm, Bt sweet corn consistently performed better than its non-Bt counterparts, even those that were sprayed with conventional insecticides.

"Across multiple states and multiple years, Bt sweet corn performed better and required fewer sprays to meet market standards," said Cornell entomology professor Anthony Shelton. "One of the most spectacular examples occurred in New York plots in 2010: the Bt sweet corn had 99 to 100 percent marketable ears without any sprays and, even with eight conventional insecticide sprays, the non-Bt corn had only 18 percent marketable ears. This wasn't much better than the 6 percent marketable ears produced in the plots that received no sprays at all."

The authors predict that growers could realize increased profits with Bt sweet corn because of lower inputs and higher marketability, while simultaneously conserving populations of beneficial insects that keep damaging pests at bay.

"The use of Bt vegetables could significantly reduce the use of conventional insecticides and, in turn, reduce occupational and environmental risks that arise from intensive insecticide use," Shelton said.

Journalists who would like an advanced copy of the article should write to rlevine@entsoc.org.

The Journal of Economic Entomology is 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. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

Richard Levine | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.entsoc.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NIH scientists illuminate causes of hepatitis b virus-associated acute liver failure

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

14.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

NIH scientists combine technologies to view the retina in unprecedented detail

14.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>