• Transgenic Bt corn;
  • Bacillus thuringiensis;
  • Insecticidal toxin;
  • Root exudate;
  • Clay mineral;
  • European corn borer


The insecticidal toxin encoded by the cry1Ab gene from Bacillus thuringiensis was released in root exudates from transgenic Bt corn during 40 days of growth in soil amended to 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12% (v/v) with montmorillonite or kaolinite in a plant growth room and from plants grown to maturity in the field. The presence of the toxin in rhizosphere soil was determined by immunological and larvicidal assays. No toxin was detected in any soils from isogenic non-Bt corn or without plants. Persistence of the toxin was apparently the result of its binding on surface-active particles in the soils, which reduced the biodegradation of the toxin. The release of the toxin could enhance the control of insect pests or constitute a hazard to nontarget organisms, including the microbiota of soil, and increase the selection of toxin-resistant target insects.