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Bacillus thuringiensis Maize Expressing a Fusion Gene Cry1Ab/Cry1AcZM Does Not Harm Valued Pollen Feeders

1
College of Environment and Plant Protection, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
2
State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of PlantProtection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
3
Agroscope, Research Division Agroecology and Environment, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These two authors contribute equally to this work.
Received: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 26 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis)
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Abstract

The ladybird Propylea japonica, adults of the green lacewing Chrysoperla nipponensis and the honey bee Apis mellifera are common pollen feeders in many crop systems. They could therefore be directly exposed to Cry proteins in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-transgenic crop fields by ingestion of pollen. They, or closely related species, are therefore often selected as surrogate test species in non-target risk assessment of Bt plants. In the current study, we evaluated the potential effects of the ingestion of Bt maize pollen containing the Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac fusion protein on various life-table parameters of the three pollen-feeding non-target species in laboratory feeding assays. The results showed that pupation rate and male adult fresh weight of P. japonica were significantly increased when fed pollen from Bt maize compared to control maize pollen, but other test life-table parameters were not affected. For the other two species, none of the tested life-table parameters (survival, pre-oviposition period, fecundity and adult fresh weight for C. nipponensis; survival and mean acinus diameter of hypopharyngeal glands for A. mellifera) differed between non-Bt and Bt maize pollen treatments. ELISA measurements confirmed the stability and uptake of the Cry protein by all three species during the feeding bioassays. In addition, a sensitive insect bioassay confirmed the bioactivity of the Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac protein in the Bt maize pollen used. Overall, the results suggested that the three pollen feeders are not sensitive to the Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac protein, and planting of the Bt maize variety will pose a negligible risk to P. japonica, adult C. nipponensis and adult A. mellifera. View Full-Text
Keywords: Non-target effect; ELISA; Bt maize; ladybirds; Bees; Lacewings Non-target effect; ELISA; Bt maize; ladybirds; Bees; Lacewings
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Xie, X.; Cui, Z.; Wang, Y.; Wang, Y.; Cao, F.; Romeis, J.; Peng, Y.; Li, Y. Bacillus thuringiensis Maize Expressing a Fusion Gene Cry1Ab/Cry1AcZM Does Not Harm Valued Pollen Feeders. Toxins 2019, 11, 8.

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