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Interactions Between Nosema pyrausta (Microsporidia: Nosematidae) and Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki in the European Corn Borer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

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Larval susceptibility to Bacillus thuringiensis was determined for Nosema pyrausta-infected and uninfected European corn borers, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), in bioassays using a commercial formulation of B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki, Dipel ES, incorporated into diet. LC50 values for N. pyrausta-infected larvae were significantly lower (P < 0.0001) than for uninfected larvae and declined with increasing levels of infection. LC50 values for a 15-d bioassay using field-colony first instars were 0.006 and 0.027 mg of Dipel ES/kg of diet for larvae moderately infected by N. pyrausta and uninfected larvae, respectively. Nosema pyrausta-infected larvae reared on Dipel ES-amended diets produced 70-fold fewer spores (P < 0.0001) than larvae reared on standard diet. For example, 15 d after placement as first instars on standard diet, infected field-colony larvae produced 7.6–8.7 million N. pyrausta spores per larva; similar larvae placed on diet containing 0.09 mg of Dipel ES/kg of diet produced 85–103 thousand spores per larva. Infected larvae also weighed less and failed to mature on Dipel ES-amended diets. Increased susceptibility of N. pyrausta-infected larvae to Dipel ES and reduced N. pyrausta spore production in larvae feeding on diet containing Dipel ES suggest that Bt corn will have a direct adverse effect on the survival and continual impact of N. pyrausta as a regulating factor on European corn borer populations.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; Nosema pyrausta; Ostrinia nubilalis; bioassay; insect pathogen; larval development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-94.6.1361

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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  • 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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