Acquisition of Cry1Ac Protein by Non-Target Arthropods in Bt Soybean FieldsReport as inadecuate

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Soybean tissue and arthropods were collected in Bt soybean fields in China at different times during the growing season to investigate the exposure of arthropods to the plant-produced Cry1Ac toxin and the transmission of the toxin within the food web. Samples from 52 arthropod species-taxa belonging to 42 families in 10 orders were analysed for their Cry1Ac content using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay ELISA. Among the 22 species-taxa for which three samples were analysed, toxin concentration was highest in the grasshopper Atractomorpha sinensis and represented about 50% of the concentration in soybean leaves. Other species-taxa did not contain detectable toxin or contained a concentration that was between 1 and 10% of that detected in leaves. These Cry1Ac-positive arthropods included a number of mesophyll-feeding Hemiptera, a cicadellid, a curculionid beetle and, among the predators, a thomisid spider and an unidentified predatory bug belonging to the Anthocoridae. Within an arthropod species-taxon, the Cry1Ac content sometimes varied between life stages nymphs-larvae vs. adults and sampling dates before, during, and after flowering. Our study is the first to provide information on Cry1Ac-expression levels in soybean plants and Cry1Ac concentrations in non-target arthropods in Chinese soybean fields. The data will be useful for assessing the risk of non-target arthropod exposure to Cry1Ac in soybean.

Author: Huilin Yu, Jörg Romeis, Yunhe Li, Xiangju Li, Kongming Wu



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