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Keywords:

  • Bt brinjal;
  • Cry1Ac gene;
  • fungal communities;
  • ITS-rRNA-RFLP;
  • rhizosphere

Abstract

Aims

The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of Cry1Ac gene expressing brinjal (VRBT-8) on the rhizospheric fungal community structure.

Methods and Results

qPCR indicated variations in the fungal ITS rRNA copy numbers of non-Bt (1·43–4·43) × 109 g−1 dws and Bt (1·43–3·32) × 109 g−1 dws plots. Phylogenetic analysis of ITS rRNA clones indicated fungal-related group majority of being Ascomycota compared to that of Basidiomycota and Zygomycota in non-Bt- and Bt-planted soils. Sordariomycetes was the dominant class detected in all the stages.

Conclusions

Despite the variations in the population size and the distribution pattern observed across the non-Bt and Bt brinjal, plant-growth-dependent variability was more prominent compared with genetic modification. Therefore, this study concludes that genetic modification of brinjal crop has minor effect on the fungal community.

Significance and Impact of the Study

Brinjal, the important solanaceous crop, is also prone to attack by many insect pests, especially by Leucinoides orbonalis, resulting in significant losses in the crop yield. However, the reports on the effect of transgenic crops and the associated microbial community are inconsistent. The present communication takes into account for the first time the possible interactions between Bt brinjal and the associated fungal community; the latter playing a significant role in maintaining soil fertility. As this study is limited to the structural diversity of fungal community, additional information regarding the functional diversity of the group seems imperative before recommending the commercialization of GM crops.