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Keywords:

  • Bt maize;
  • stored-product pests;
  • biological control;
  • transgenic maize;
  • biosafety;
  • tritrophic interactions

Abstract

Background

The effect of transgenic maize (Zea mays L.) containing a lepidopteran-specific Bt toxin on a stored-product pest, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky, and its parasitoid, Lariophagus distinguendus Förster, was examined in the laboratory to test the impact of transgenic maize on stored-product pests and their biological control.

Results

Weevils were not harmfully affected by transgenic Bt maize in their development characteristics (development time, body mass), and females emerging from transgenic maize kernels were larger. However, significantly fewer parasitoid females emerged from weevils that developed in transgenic kernels, although parasitoids did not develop more slowly and were not different in size or mass from their conspecifics emerging from hosts in non-transgenic maize kernels.

Conclusion

The emergence of female parasitoids was reduced in transgenic Bt maize, and this effect cannot be explained by the known lepidopteran-specific toxicity of Bt Cry1Ab toxin.