Biotech Updates

Field Assessment of Bt cry1Ah Corn on Honeybees

March 9, 2012

Ping-Li Dai and team from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science conducted a field trial to assess the impact of insecticidal protein exposure to honeybees (Apis mellifera ligustica). This study is an important step in the risk assessment process for biotech corn with cry1Ah, an insecticidal protein from Bacillus thuringiensis.

In the study, the honey bee colonies were moved to Bt or non-Bt corn fields during anthesis, the stage when the flowers are fully opened and functional. The survival, development, and behavior of the bees were recorded. The researchers did not find any difference between colonies from Bt fields and non-Bt fields, in terms of survival, bee body weight, hypopharyngeal gland weight, colony performance, foraging activity and olfactory learning abilities. Thus, they concluded that cry1Ah corn has no risk for honey bee particularly in the parameters measured.

Read the abstract at