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Assessment of potential impacts due to unintentionally released Bt maize plants on non-target aphid Rhopalosiphum padi (Hemiptera: Aphididae)

Kim, Young Ho, Hwang, Chae Eun, Kim, Tae-Sung, Lee, Joon-Ho, Lee, Si Hyeock
Journal of Asia-Pacific entomology 2012 v.15 no.3 pp. 443-446
Bacillus thuringiensis, Hemiptera, Rhopalosiphum padi, adverse effects, corn, crops, endoparasitoids, environmental impact, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, host preferences, nymphs, population density, predatory insects, survival rate, toxins, transgenic plants, Korean Peninsula
Genetically modified maize crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins (Bt maize) are increasingly cultivated worldwide, and large amounts of Bt maize have been imported to Korea. Before evaluating the environmental impacts of Bt maize of unknown origin on non-target insects, crystal (Cry) protein types in the imported Bt maize plants were identified. Because Cry1F was found in the tested Bt maize plants, Rhopalosiphum padi, a non-lepidopteran species, was selected as the non-target insect species. Additionally, a widely cultivated domestic maize strain was selected as an alternative control. No difference in survival rate, alata vivipara production, or host preference was observed between R. padi fed on the Bt maize and the control non-Bt maize, indicating that Bt maize plants had no sub-chronic adverse effects on R. padi. The average number of nymphs from Bt maize-fed aphids was 1.73-fold higher than that of non-Bt maize-fed aphids, implying that R. padi population density can increase after several generations in Bt maize fields. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay revealed that Cry1F toxin concentrations increased gradually in the body of R. padi when they were fed Bt maize, but that all ingested Cry toxins were excreted within 10days after Bt-fed aphids were transferred to non-Bt maize, suggesting little possibility of Cry toxin exposure via R. padi to the endoparasitoids. However, the possibility still remains that Cry toxins can be transferred to predatory insects in higher trophic levels if they consume Bt maize-fed aphids.