Bt cotton producing Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab does not harm two parasitoids, Cotesia marginiventris and Copidosoma floridanum

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Abstract or Summary

Cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni (Hübner) is an important lepidopteran pest on many vegetable and greenhouse crops, and some field crops. Although there are no commercial transgenic Bt vegetable or greenhouse crops, Tni is a target of Bollgard II cotton, which produces Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab. We expand on previous work that examined the effect of Bt crops on parasitoids using Bt-resistant lepidopteran populations as hosts. Cry1Ac/Cry2Ab-resistant Tni larvae were used to eliminate host quality effects and to evaluate the direct effects of Bt cotton on the parasitoids Copidosoma floridanum (Ashmead) and Cotesia marginiventris (Cresson). These tri-trophic studies confirm that Bt cotton had no significant impact on development, success of parasitism, survival and adult longevity of Cmarginiventris when using Bt-resistant Tni fed on Bt cotton. Similarly, this Bt cotton had no significant impact on the development, mummy weight and the number of progeny produced by Cfloridanum. Our studies verified that lyophilized Bt crop tissue maintained its insecticidal bioactivity when incorporated into an artificial diet, demonstrating that hosts and parasitoids were exposed to active Cry proteins. The egg-larval parasitoid Cfloridanum, or similar species that consume their entire host, should be considered useful surrogates in risk assessment of Bt crops to non-target arthropods

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