Levels of Cry1Ac1 protein in herbivorous and predatory arthropods in fields of Bacillus thuringiensis cabbage

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Abstract or Summary

To investigate the extent of exposure and routes of Cry1Ac1 protein through the food chain, we collected Bt cabbage leaves and arthropods that occurred in the field during two trials. Protein levels in the transgenic leaves were significantly higher during the early stages of plant growth, ranging from 209.1 to 553.6 ng g−1 in spring and from 208.2 to 402.8 ng g−1 in autumn. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to measure protein levels in the arthropods. Among the 16 taxa collected in the field, Cry1Ac1 was detected in the bodies of 10. Concentrations were higher in lepidopteran larvae than in the other taxa. In particular, we found a significant correlation between Cry1Ac1 protein levels in cabbage leaves and in Pieris rapae and Mamestra brassicae. Furthermore, this protein was detected in five out of nine taxa of predators (spiders and coleopterans) and parasitoids. These results will be useful as we identify the arthropods that are directly or indirectly exposed to Bt toxin within the food web and the degree to which they are exposed during the cultivation of Bt cabbage.

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