Tri-Trophic Studies Using Cry1Ac-Resistant Plutella xylostella Demonstrate No Adverse Effects of Cry1Ac on the Entomopathogenic Nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora

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Abstract or Summary

The potential impacts on natural enemies of crops that produce insecticidal Cry proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are an important part of an environmental risk assessment. Entomopathogenic nematodes are important natural enemies of lepidopteran pests, and the effects of Bt crops on these nontarget organisms should be investigated to avoid disruption of their biological control function. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of Cry1Ac-expressing transgenic Bt broccoli on the entomopathogenic nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae), under tri-trophic conditions. Using Cry1Ac-resistant Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) larvae as hosts, we evaluated the potential impact of Cry1Ac-expressing Bt broccoli on several fitness parameters of H. bacteriophora. Virulence, reproductive potential, time of emergence, and preference of H. bacteriophora for the host (P. xylostella) were not significantly affected when Cry1Ac-resistant P. xylostella larvae were reared on leaves of Cry1Ac or non-Bt broccoli. Also the aforementioned parameters of the subsequent generation of H. bacteriophora did not differ between nematodes obtained from P. xylostella reared on Cry1Ac broccoli compared with those obtained from P. xylostella reared on non-Bt broccoli. To the best of our knowledge, the current study provides the first clear evidence that Cry1Ac does not affect important fitness parameters of H. bacteriophora.

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Tri-Trophic Studies Using Cry1Ac-Resistant Plutella xylostella Demonstrate No Adverse Effects of Cry1Ac on the Entomopathogenic Nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (held on an external server, and so may require additional authentication details)

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