Biotech Updates

Cotton Pigment Glands Affect Development and Insecticide-Resistance of Cotton Bollworm

July 23, 2010

Cotton plants have globular pigment glands that contain gossypol. Gossypol is a toxic, non-nutritious, organic compound that has feeding prevention effects on many moths and butterflies.

Guangchao Kong of Zhejiang University, together with other scientists, conducted a study to investigate the effects of cotton pigment glands and gossypol on the growth, development and insecticide tolerance of cotton bollworm, a major cotton pest. Five generations of cotton bollworm larvae were grown on three pairs of cotton lines with glands on the leaves and glandless leaves. The larvae were also fed with five varying amounts of gossypol. Results showed that the larvae exposed to leaves with glands and fed with high levels of gossypol have decreased body weight and slow transformation from larvae to moth. These larvae also exhibited more tolerance to insecticides than those exposed to glandless cotton leaves. The growth inhibition and insecticide tolerance could be stimulated by the gossypol but could not be accrued and inherited.