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The transfer of Bt insecticidal protein to higher tropic levels via a transgenic cotton, then beet armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and their natural enemies

  • Chun-Xia Chen (a1), Erzhong Wu (a1), Yi-Zhong Yang (a1) and Hong-Hua Su (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

In order to determine the transference of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bacillaceae) (Bt) insecticidal protein in the food chain, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect Bt insecticidal protein levels in transgenic Bt cotton (GK12, New variety 33B and SGK321), Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) fed on the Bt cotton varieties, and two natural enemies of S. exigua, Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) and Microplitis pallidipes Szépligeti (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). The results showed that Bt insecticidal protein was found not only in cotton leaves, but also in the body and excrement of S. exigua and the bodies of both C. carnea and M. pallidipes. Bt toxin was detected in S. exigua larvae of all the examined instars (second, third, fourth, and fifth) that fed on transgenic cotton varieties and the Bt toxin level was the highest in the body of the second instar. In addition, the Bt toxin content in the excrement of the second instar was lower than that in the older ones. After the natural enemies C. carnea and M. pallidipes preyed/parasitised the S. exigua larvae that fed on transgenic cotton, Bt toxin was found in both the predator and parasite. This research indicates that Bt protein can be transferred through the food chain and to natural enemies of various predatory habits.

Résumé

Afin de déterminer la possibilité de transfert de la protéine insecticide de Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bacillaceae) (Bt) dans la chaîne alimentaire, nous avons utilisé des dosages d'immunosorption liée à enzyme (ELISA) pour mesurer les concentrations de la protéine insecticide Bt dans du coton transgénique Bt (GK12, NuCTN 33B et SGK321), dans des Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) nourris de ces variétés de coton-Bt et dans deux ennemis naturels de S. exigua, soit Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) et Microplitis pallidipes Szépligeti (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Nous avons trouvé la protéine insecticide Bt non seulement dans les feuilles de coton, mais aussi dans le corps et les excréments de S. exigua, ainsi que dans les corps de C. carnea et de M. pallidipes. La toxine Bt peut être décelée chez les larves de S. exigua de tous les stades examinés (2e, 3e, 4e et 5e) nourries des variétés de coton transgénique et la concentration de toxine Bt est maximale dans le corps des larves de 2e stade. De plus, le contenu en toxine Bt des excréments des larves de 2e stade est inférieur à celui des larves plus âgées. Après que les ennemis naturels C. carnea et M. pallidipes se soient nourris de larves de S. exigua alimentées de coton transgénique ou les aient parasitées, la toxine Bt se retrouve tant chez le prédateur que chez le parasite. Notre travail indique que la protéine Bt peut être transmise à travers la chaîne alimentaire et passer aux ennemis naturels présentant divers comportements prédateurs.

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1Corresponding author (e-mail: yzyang@yzu.edu.cn).
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Subject editor: Kevin Floate

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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The Canadian Entomologist
  • ISSN: 0008-347X
  • EISSN: 1918-3240
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-entomologist
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