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Keywords:

  • Bt sprays;
  • Cry1Ab resistance selection;
  • European corn borer;
  • sweet pepper

Abstract

Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), a major pest of corn in temperate climates, can feed on other crops due to its polyphagous behaviour. In particular, this species became a serious problem in some sweet pepper commercial glasshouses in south-eastern Spain repeatedly sprayed with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) products to control Spodoptera exigua Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). The susceptibility of an O. nubilalis colony established from individuals collected in these Bt-sprayed glasshouses was compared with a reference laboratory colony. Differences in susceptibility between the two colonies to Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac and Cry2Aa proteins were found. However, our results indicate that the O. nubilalis control failure in the glasshouse was not due to selection for resistance. Intraspecific variation probably accounts for differences between the glasshouse-derived population and the laboratory strain. This conclusion is based on several lines of evidence: the glasshouse-derived population retained its susceptibility to a Bt standard product and to most of its individual components (both in the form of protoxins and in the form of activated toxins), and it did not respond to laboratory selection with high doses of Cry1Ab.