Biotech benefits

Prey-mediated effects of mCry51Aa2-producing cotton on the predatory nontarget bug Orius majusculus (Reuter)

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Abstract or Summary

Genetically engineered (GE) cotton, MON 88702, is protected against certain sucking pests, such as plant bugs and thrips, by producing mCry51Aa2, a modified protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Predatory pirate bugs (Orius spp.), natural enemies contributing to biological pest control, are also sensitive to the insecticidal protein when exposed continuously to high concentrations.

We evaluated effects of MON 88702 on Orius majusculus when fed prey types with different mCry51Aa2 concentrations. When neonates were provided exclusively Tetranychus urticae spider mites reared on MON 88702 (high mCry51Aa2 content), adverse effects on predator survival and development were confirmed, compared with specimens fed prey from near-isogenic non-Bt cotton. When fed a mixture of T. urticae and Ephestia kuehniella eggs (mCry51Aa2-free), predator life table parameters were similar to the treatment where eggs were fed exclusively. When mCry51Aa2-containing spider mites were provided for a limited time at the beginning or the end of juvenile development, effects were less pronounced. While pirate bug nymphs showed similar consumption rates for prey from Bt and non-Bt cotton, choice experiments revealed a preference for E. kuehniella eggs over spider mites. Lepidopteran larvae (Spodoptera littoralis, high mCry51Aa2 content) or cotton aphids (Aphis gossypii, mCry51Aa2-free) reared on MON 88702 as alternative prey did not result in adverse effects on O. majusculus.

Our study suggests limited risk of mCry51Aa2-producing cotton for O. majusculus, because its sensitivity for the Bt protein is relatively low and its natural food consists of diverse prey species with varying concentrations of Bt protein.


Prey-mediated effects of mCry51Aa2-producing cotton on the predatory nontarget bug Orius majusculus (Reuter) (held on an external server, and so may require additional authentication details)

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