Mustard aphid (Lipaphis erysimi) is the most devastating sucking insect pest
of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.). The taro (Colocasia esculenta) tuber
agglutinin (CEA), has previously been reported to be effective against a
wide array of hemipteran insects in artificial diet-based bioassays. Ayan
Das together with colleagues from the Bose Institute in India conducted a
study to develop transgenic Indian mustard expressing CEA from taro.
Analysis of the transgenic plants confirmed stable integration of cea gene.
Expression of CEA in transgenic plants was also confirmed. In the in planta
insect bioassays, the CEA expressing Indian mustard lines exhibited
significant enhanced insect mortality. The fecundity of the mustard aphid
pest was also reduced compared to that in control plants.
Biosafety assessment of the transgenic B. juncea protein containing CEA was
also carried out. The results demonstrated that the expressed CEA protein
from transgenic Indian mustard does not incite any allergenic response.
This study establishes CEA as an efficient insecticidal and non-allergenic
protein to be utilized for controlling mustard aphid and similar hemipteran