Evaluation of Bt-toxin Uptake by the Non-Target Herbivore, Myzus Persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae), Feeding on Transgenic Oilseed Rape

Bull Entomol Res. 2007 Apr;97(2):211-5. doi: 10.1017/S0007485307004920.


As consequence of the concern about the biosafety of genetically modified plants, biological and ecological studies are considered crucial for environmental risk assessment. Laboratory experiments were carried out in order to evaluate the transfer of the Cry1Ac Bt-toxin from a transgenic Bt-oilseed rape to a non-target pest, Myzus persicae Sulzer. Cry1Ac protein levels in plants and aphids were determined using a double sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Phloem sap from (Bt+) and (Bt-) oilseed rape plants was collected from leaves using a standard method of extraction in an EDTA buffer. Bt-toxin was present in phloem sap, with a mean concentration of 2.7 +/- 1.46 ppb, corresponding to a 24-fold lower level than in oilseed rape leaves. Toxin was also detected in aphid samples, with a mean concentration in the positive samples of 2.0 +/- 0.8 ppb. The evidence that Bt-toxin remains in herbivores, in this case an aphid, could be useful to clarify functional aspects linked to possible consequences of Bt-crops on food chains involving herbivore-natural enemy trophic systems. Further studies are needed in order to improve the knowledge on the functional aspects linked to the transfer of the Cry1Ac Bt-toxin from GM-oilseed rape to aphids and their possible consequence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphids / drug effects*
  • Aphids / metabolism
  • Aphids / physiology
  • Bacillus thuringiensis / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism*
  • Biological Assay
  • Brassica napus / genetics*
  • Endotoxins / genetics
  • Endotoxins / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics
  • Hemolysin Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / toxicity
  • Risk Assessment


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Endotoxins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • insecticidal crystal protein, Bacillus Thuringiensis