Vegetable Crops News

Bt Endotoxins Toxic to Potato Aphid

Bacillus thuringiensis delta-endotoxins possess aphicidal activity when solubilized in artificial aphid diet. Adult potato aphids were killed after they fed for four to five days on the simulated plant sap laced with specific preparations of Bt. The presence of the endotoxin did not deter the aphids from feeding. They produced as much honeydew as they normally would, and often died in a feeding position.

Interesting, but what does this have to do with the real world of potato production? Now that transgenic potatoes containing Bt are moving out of the lab and into the field, there is the remote possibility that aphids might encounter delta-endotoxins in a plant, making transgenic plants less target-specific than originally thought. Or alternatively, plants could possibly be engineered to produce the specific endotoxins in the sap where the aphids would ingest it, thereby creating aphid-resistant plants.

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