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Baseline sensitivity of lepidopteran corn pests in India to Cry1Ab insecticidal protein of Bacillus thuringiensis

Jalali, Sushil K., Lalitha, Yadavalli, Kamath, Subray P., Mohan, Komarlingam S., Head, Graham P.
Pest management science 2010 v.66 no.8 pp. 809-815
Chilo partellus, insect pests, Zea mays, corn, Bacillus thuringiensis, crystal proteins, insecticidal proteins, transgenic plants, plant-incorporated protectants, insecticide resistance, Sesamia inferens, Helicoverpa armigera, species differences, bioassays, lethal concentration 50, dose response, mortality, insect development, normal values, India
BACKGROUND: Genetically engineered corn (Bt corn) expressing Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner insecticidal protein Cry1Ab is a biotechnological option being considered for management of lepidopteran corn pests in India. As a resistance management practice it was essential to determine the sensitivity of multiple populations of the stalk borer Chilo partellus (Swinhoe), pink borer Sesamia inferens (Walker) and the cob borer Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) to Cry1Ab protein through bioassays. The insect populations were collected during growing seasons of Rabi 2005 (October 2005 to February 2006) and Kharif 2006 (May to September 2006).RESULTS: Multiple populations of the three lepidopteran corn pests were found to be susceptible to Cry1Ab. Median lethal concentrations (LC₅₀) ranged between 0.008 and 0.068 μg Cry1Ab mL⁻¹ diet for 18 populations of C. partellus (across two seasons), between 0.12 and 1.99 μg mL⁻¹ for seven populations of H. armigera and between 0.46 and 0.56 μg mL⁻¹ for two populations of S. inferens.CONCLUSION: Dose-response concentrations for lethality and growth inhibition have been determined to mark baseline sensitivity of multiple populations of key lepidopteran corn pests in India to Cry1Ab protein. These benchmark values will be referenced while monitoring resistance to Cry1Ab should Bt corn hybrids expressing Cry1Ab be approved for commercial cultivation in India.