Crop Biotech Update

Field and Laboratory Performance of Bt Cotton Containing Cry1Ac Against Beet Armyworm Larvae

May 27, 2011

Beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) is an insect pest that infects various economically important crops. In Pakistan, this pest has caused significant devastation in cotton production by feeding on the leaf and fruit parts of the plants. One of the solutions to insect pest problems is the use of Bt cotton expressing Cry1Ac protein. However, some studies have revealed that Bt cotton expressing Cry1Ac is not effective in controlling beet armyworm infestation. To prove if this is also the same case in Pakistan, Mahammad Arshad and Anjum Suhail of the University of Agriculture tested the field and laboratory performance of Bt cotton with Cry1Ac against beet armyworm larvae in Pakistan.

Based on their findings, the beet armyworm larvae exhibited low susceptibility to Bt cotton. No significant differences in larval densities were observed between Bt cotton and conventional cotton plots. Bioassays also revealed that there were no significant impacts of Bt cotton plant parts on larval mortality. Sublethal effects such as differences in larval development time and pupal weight have been observed in larvae exposed to Bt cotton.

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