The detection and decay of Cry1Ab Bt-endotoxins within non-target slugs, Deroceras reticulatum (Mollusca: Pulmonata), following consumption of transgenic corn

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With greater acreages being planted to transgenic crops, the exposure of non-target species to bioengineered material is increasing. Although the slug, Deroceras reticulatum (Müller), is a major agricultural pest throughout the world, Bacillus thuringiensis crops were not intended to target these species. Molluscs are readily consumed by many generalist predators; if these Cry1Ab-endotoxins are taken up by slugs during feeding on transgenic plants, predators would therefore be exposed to elevated endotoxin concentrations. Using a biochemical assay, we tested the hypothesis that slugs fed transgenic corn would accumulate detectable quantities of Cry1Ab-endotoxins for prolonged periods of time. Characterization indicated that at low dilution rates, Cry1Ab-endotoxins were detectable in slugs fed Bt-corn but no reactivity was elicited by specimens fed non-transgenic food. It was possible to detect Cry1Ab-endotoxins in slugs for 95.9 h after consumption of Bt-corn. Although quantities were small, these long detection periods indicated potential exposure of generalist predators to low concentrations of transgenic insecticidal toxins in the field.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; ELISA; decay rates; detection protocols; non-target effects; risk assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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