Plant-Toxin Interactions in Transgenic Bt Cotton and their Effect on Mortality of Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

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In Australia, transgenic cotton plants expressing the cry1Ac gene from Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner variety kurstaki are less toxic to first-instar Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) after the plant is producing fruit. We developed two bioassay methods (leaf mush, leaf disk) to test if the physiological state of the plants explained changes in toxicity and a third method (diet incorporation) was developed to quantify the toxicity of Bt leaves when mixed in chickpea diet. Cry1Ac protein was less toxic to H. armigera larvae when the protein was mixed with leaves from fruiting versus presquare conventional cotton. Differences in LC50 varied from 2.4- to 726-fold, depending on the source of toxin and conventional plant material. These results suggest that plant-toxin interactions in fruiting cotton are reducing the toxicity of the Cry1Ac protein. The possible role of tannins in these changes is discussed.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; Cry1Ac protein; Helicoverpa armigera; bioassay; cotton; plant stage

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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