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Oral toxicity and impact on fecundity of three insecticidal proteins on the gregarious ectoparasitoid Eulophus pennicornis (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae)

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1 The effects of three insecticidal transgene proteins on selected life parameters of the ectoparasitoid Eulophus pennicornis were investigated.

2 When incorporated into the diet of the adult wasp, the lectins GNA (snowdrop lectin) and Con A (jackbean lectin) significantly reduced longevity at doses of 0.1% w/v and above. At a dose rate of 0.1% w/v, GNA and Con A reduced mean longevity to approximately 13 and 10 days, respectively, compared with average control lifespans of approximately 20 days. The trypsin inhibitor from cowpeas, CpTI, had no marked effect on longevity.

3 Both lectins reduced reproductive fitness of parasitoids when dosed before exposure to hosts. The 1.0% dose reduced fecundity by over 35% for GNA and 70% for Con A. Although reduced fecundity may have been a function of shorter lifespans, smaller egg loads in female wasps provided evidence to suggest that higher lectin doses may have interfered with egg maturation processes.

4 Both lectins were readily detected in whole body extracts of the parasitoid and were seen to persist within their bodies for at least 24 h after cessation of feeding on lectin-containing diets.

5 The results would indicate that the ingestion of the lectins, either through host feeding or through the consumption of nectar, may pose a hazard to parasitic wasps if present at sufficiently high concentrations.
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Keywords: Con A; CpTI; GM crop; GNA; parasitoid; tritrophic systems

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, U.K. and 2: School of Biology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, U.K.

Publication date: 2004-08-01

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