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Potential effects of oilseed rape expressing oryzacystatin-1 (OC-1) and of purified insecticidal proteins on larvae of the solitary bee Osmia bicornis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Natalie Ferry, Professor Angharad MR GatehouseORCiD



Despite their importance as pollinators in crops and wild plants, solitary bees have not previously been included in non-target testing of insect-resistant transgenic crop plants. Larvae of many solitary bees feed almost exclusively on pollen and thus could be highly exposed to transgene products expressed in the pollen. The potential effects of pollen from oilseed rape expressing the cysteine protease inhibitor oryzacystatin-1 (OC-1) were investigated on larvae of the solitary bee Osmia bicornis (= O. rufa). Furthermore, recombinant OC-1 (rOC-1), the Bt toxin Cry1Ab and the snowdrop lectin Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) were evaluated for effects on the life history parameters of this important pollinator. Pollen provisions from transgenic OC-1 oilseed rape did not affect overall development. Similarly, high doses of rOC-1 and Cry1Ab as well as a low dose of GNA failed to cause any significant effects. However, a high dose of GNA (0.1%) in the larval diet resulted in significantly increased development time and reduced efficiency in conversion of pollen food into larval body weight. Our results suggest that OC-1 and Cry1Ab expressing transgenic crops would pose a negligible risk for O. bicomis larvae, whereas GNA expressing plants could cause detrimental effects, but only if bees were exposed to high levels of the protein. The described bioassay with bee brood is not only suitable for early tier non-target tests of transgenic plants, but also has broader applicability to other crop protection products. © 2008 Konrad et al.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Konrad R, Ferry N, Gatehouse AMR, Babendreier D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS One

Year: 2008

Volume: 3

Issue: 7

Print publication date: 16/07/2008

Date deposited: 01/02/2010

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002664

PubMed id: 18628826


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