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Assessing the Susceptibility of Cruciferous Lepidoptera to Cry1Ba2 and Cry1Ca4 for Future Transgenic Cruciferous Vegetables

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Advances in transgenic plants expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal gene(s) offer a promising alternative to traditional insecticides for control of lepidopteran pests on important cruciferous vegetable crops such as cabbage and cauliflower. A public-private partnership, the Collaboration on Insect Management for Brassicas in Asia and Africa (CIMBAA), was formed in 2005 with the goal of developing dual-gene Bt cauliflower and cabbage, initially for India, to replace the use of broad spectrum, traditional insecticides. As a first step in this effort, the major lepidopteran pests of cruciferous vegetable crops [Plutella xylostella (L.), Pieris rapae (L.), Pieris brassicae (L.), Crocidolomia binotalis (L.), Hellula undalis (F.), Diacrisia obliqua Walker, Spodoptera litura F., and Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner)] were collected over a large geographic area (India, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Australia, and the United States) and tested against purified Cry1Ba2 and Cry1Ca4 toxins, the toxins proposed to be expressed in the CIMBAA plants. Our results demonstrate that Cry1Ba2 and Cry1Ca4 were effective against the primary target of the CIMBAA plants, P. xylostella, regardless of geographic location, and had LC50 values <1.3 ppm. Furthermore, one or both toxins were effective against the other major pest Lepidoptera, except for S. litura or H. armigera which were less susceptible. No cross-resistance has been found between Cry1Ba2 and Cry1Ca4, suggesting cry1Ba2+cry1Ca4 cauliflower and cabbage could be an effective and sustainable tool to control, P. xylostella, the key lepidopteran pest on cruciferous vegetable crops, as well as most other Lepidoptera. As the CIMBAA plants are being developed, further tests are needed to determine whether they will express these proteins at sufficient levels to control all the Lepidoptera. Sustainable use of the dual-gene plants also is discussed.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; Cry toxins; Plutella xylostella; diamondback moth

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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