, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 145-156

Leaf surface factors of transgenic Bt cotton associated with the feeding behaviors of cotton aphids: A case study on non-target effects

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Abstract

The present paper reports case study results of the risk assessment of transgenic Bt cotton on a non-target pest, cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii. Several types of techniques, i.e., electrical penetration graph (EPG), light and electron microscopy, bioassays and chemical analysis, were applied to investigate physical and chemical leaf factors of 2 transgenic Bt cotton lines (GK12 and GK19) and their parental non-Bt cotton line (Simian3) associated with searching and feeding behaviors of cotton aphids on leaves or leaf extracts of cotton plants. EPG results showed that there were some differences among behaviors of cotton aphids on 2 Bt cotton and 1 non-Bt cotton lines. Cotton aphids performed similarly to leaf surface extracts from 3 cotton lines; and leaf surface chemicals, mainly volatiles and waxes, were almost identical in the components and concentrations among the cotton lines. However, three cotton lines were quite different from each other in the densities of certain kinds of covering trichomes. Therefore, the relationships between the physical characteristics and the searching behaviors of cotton aphids on the three cotton lines were constructed as the regression equations. Glandular trichomes and covering trichomes with 5 branches influenced the cotton aphids’ searching behaviors effectively; and other trichomes with other branches affected aphids in varying ways. These results demonstrated that leaf surface physical factors of transgenic Bt cotton lines different from their parental non-Bt line could affect the penetration behaviors of non-target cotton aphids. Cotton aphids penetrate and feed more easily on two Bt cotton lines than on the non-Bt cotton line.

Supported by the National Key Basic Research Program (Grant No. G2000046803), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 39970153) and the Public and Professional Project of Environmental Protection of China (Grant No. 200709047)