A new observation on feeding behaviour of pink bollworm and its application in screening Bt-resistant population


The pink bollworm (PBW), Pectinophora gossypiella (Saund.) does not feed on leaves in natural circumstances. We made an attempt with the first instar larva (5 days old) and found it eats the leaf in the absence of other foods. Utilizing this new feeding behaviour, a simple methodology was developed for screening of resistance in PBW against Bt cotton plants. The PBW collected from BGII Bt cotton fields (BGII-resistant population) and NBAIR culture (susceptible population) were reared under laboratory conditions for two generations. Laboratory reared 5-day old larvae of PBW were released on cotton leaf discs individually for screening. The BGII-resistant and susceptible larvae fed an average leaf area of 75.52 ± 16.68 and 5.95 ± 0.93 mm2 with survival rate of 90 and 4% respectively, in BGII Bt cotton leaves. Whereas in case of non-Bt cotton (MCU13), the BGII-resistant and susceptible larvae consumed average leaf area of 114.84 ± 23.70 and 116.80 ± 24.14 mm2 with survival rate of 93.34 and 95.33%, respectively. In addition to the screening process, the larval survivors were transferred to an artificial diet after 7 days of experiment and observed up to their emergence as adults. To confirm the development of resistance in PBW, sequencing of larval DNA amplicons was carried out and it revealed mutation in the cadherin gene of the BGII-resistant PBW population. Hence, the detached leaf bit feeding assay described here could be used in a simple manner for screening of resistance developed by PBW against Bt cotton and also for evaluating Bt cotton plants for their inherent resistance to PBW. This method could also be used for studying toxicity of Bt isolates by coating spore-crystal mixture on non-transgenic cotton leaf discs.

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We thank Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), India, for sponsoring the National Post-Doctoral Fellowship (NPDF) to Dr. Reyaz Ahmad Lone (Fellowship reference no. PDF/2016/000399). We would like to thank Dr. A. Sitha Rama Sarma, Scientist (Entomology), Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS), Nandyal, for his kind help during the collection of cotton bolls from Andhra Pradesh. We extend our sincere thanks to NBAIR, Bengaluru, India, for providing the pink bollworm culture maintained in their institution.

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Correspondence to V. Udayasuriyan.

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Reyaz, A.L., Balakrishnan, N. & Udayasuriyan, V. A new observation on feeding behaviour of pink bollworm and its application in screening Bt-resistant population. 3 Biotech 8, 237 (2018) doi:10.1007/s13205-018-1262-7

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  • Pectinophora gossypiella
  • Bioassay
  • Resistance
  • Bt cotton
  • Cadherin