, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 21–28 | Cite as

Lack of lethal and sublethal effects of Cry1Ac Bt-toxin on larvae of the stingless bee Trigona spinipes

  • Maria Augusta P. Lima
  • Carmen Silvia S. Pires
  • Raul Narciso C. Guedes
  • Lucio Antonio O. Campos
Original article


Stingless bees, particularly Trigona spinipes, are important pollinators in tropical ecosystems and are potentially affected by environmental contaminants. In this study, we tested the possible negative effects on T. spinipes larvae of the ingestion of a diet contaminated with Cry1Ac Bt-toxin. This toxin is expressed in genetically modified cotton plants. A method of rearing stingless bee larvae is described in this paper. The larvae were provided with either pure larval diet, diluted larval diet, or larval diet diluted in a Cry1Ac solution compatible with the lethal pest-exposure level (50 μg/mL). Cry1Ac ingestion did not impair the development of worker larvae, but the diluted diet slightly increased larval mortality. These results indicate that harmful effects on stingless bee larvae due to the ingestion of pollen-expressed Cry1Ac toxin are unlikely under field conditions.


Bacillus thuringiensis toxin transgenic plants environmental impact native pollinator risk assessment 



We thank the members of the EMBRAPA Genetic Resources and Biotechnology Center, especially Drs. E. Fontes and E. Sujii, for fruitful discussions. Comments by Professor S.C. Dias, Catholic University of Brasília, substantially improved the first version of the manuscript. We also acknowledge E. Y. T. Nakasu and M. S. Lara for helping to rear the caterpillars and the stingless bee larvae. The comments and suggestions provided by the editor and two anonymous reviewers were greatly appreciated. The study was sponsored by the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Minas Gerais State Foundation for Research Aid (FAPEMIG).


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag, France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Augusta P. Lima
    • 1
  • Carmen Silvia S. Pires
    • 2
  • Raul Narciso C. Guedes
    • 3
  • Lucio Antonio O. Campos
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia AnimalUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  2. 2.EMBRAPA Recursos Genéticos e BiotecnologiaBrasíliaBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de EntomologiaUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil

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