Field trials to evaluate effects of continuously planted transgenic insect-resistant cottons on soil invertebrates

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Abstract or Summary

Impacts on soil invertebrates are an important aspect of environmental risk assessment and post-release monitoring of transgenic insect-resistant plants. The purpose of this study was to research and survey the effects of transgenic insect-resistant cottons that had been planted over 10 years on the abundance and community structure of soil invertebrates under field conditions. During 3 consecutive years (2006–2008), eight common taxa (orders) of soil invertebrates belonging to the phylum Arthropoda were investigated in two different transgenic cotton fields and one non-transgenic cotton field (control). Each year, soil samples were taken at four different growth stages of cotton (seedling, budding, boll forming and boll opening). Animals were extracted from the samples using the improved Tullgren method, counted and determined to the order level. The diversity of the soil fauna communities in the different fields was compared using the Simpson’s, Shannon’s diversity indices and evenness index. The results showed a significant sampling time variation in the abundance of soil invertebrates monitored in the different fields. However, no difference in soil invertebrate abundance was found between the transgenic cotton fields and the control field. Both sampling time and cotton treatment had a significant effect on the Simpson’s, Shannon’s diversity indices and evenness index. They were higher in the transgenic fields than the control field at the growth stages of cotton. Long-term cultivation of transgenic insect-resistant cottons had no significant effect on the abundance of soil invertebrates. Collembola, Acarina and Araneae could act as the indicators of soil invertebrate in this region to monitor the environmental impacts of transgenic plants in the future.

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