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Crop Biotech Update

Study Shows Effects of Soil Salinity on Cry1Ac Expression in Bt Cotton

February 1, 2017

Scientists from Nanjing Agricultural University and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences investigated the effects of soil salinity on the expression of Bt protein Cry1Ac and the control efficiency of cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) in field-grown transgenic Bt cotton using three natural saline levels. The results of the study may help devise strategies on how to control cotton bollworm in Bt cotton fields with varying soil salinity levels.

Results showed that during the growing season, the Bt protein concentration in the Bt cotton leaves and the insecticidal activity of Bt cotton against cotton bollworm decreased as the soil salinity was increased. In the laboratory tests, there was a negative correlation between the Bt protein content of Bt cotton leaves and the soil salinity level. The highest populations of cotton bollworm were observed in medium soil salinity in field conditions. The researchers suggest that the high salinity soil possibly changed the plant nutritional quality or other traits.

Read more about the study in PLOS One.