Researchers Study the Effect of Calcareous Soil on Bt Protein Expression and Efficacy in the Field
Scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and partners conducted a
study to investigate if calcareous soil conditions and associated poor maize
growth negatively affect the expression of Cry3Bb1. The results are
published in Transgenic Research.
Expression levels of Cry3Bb1 protein were measured in plants at V5-V6 growth
stage using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The researchers
artificially infested Cry3Bb1 and non-Bt near isoline maize hybrids with
Cry3Bb1-susceptible western corn rootworm eggs to measure survival and
efficacy of Cry3Bb1 maize in calcareous and non-calcareous soils.
Results showed that there was no significant difference in expression of
Cry3Bb1 protein between plants from calcareous and non-calcareous soils. It
was also observed that higher survival rate of western corn rootworm in
non-Bt than the Cry3Bb1 maize, which proved that Cry3Bb1 performed as
expected when infested with a Cry3Bb1 susceptible rootworm population.
Based on the findings, Cry3Bb1 expression levels provide appropriate root
protection against western corn rootworm regardless of soil environment,
indicating that lowered Cry3Bb1 expression is not a contributing factor to
the greater than expected WCR injury observed in some southwestern Nebraska