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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Feeding Studies and Assessment of Potential Non-Target Effects on the Beneficial Lady Beetle Coleomegilla Maculata

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative agreement is the continuance of the source colony of the lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) for use with standardized diets and test system methods in agro-ecological non-target organism safety studies.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The USDA Agricultural Research Service - Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory (USDA-ARS) maintains a colony of the lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata for study of its role in agroecosystems of interest. Since 2005, through Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement No. 58-1275-5-348, USDA-ARS has provided the only source of healthy C. maculata eggs to Monsanto Company for development of standardized diets that allow completion of C. maculata life cycle and the development of repeatable laboratory feeding studies. The cooperative agreement has provided an agronomically relevant beneficial nontarget organism (NTO) test system for the evaluation of the safety of plant produced pesticidal substances of regulatory interest, such as proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This new Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement will allow the continued development of harmonized laboratory Tier I maximum dose limit tests and plant tissue (e.g. corn pollen) feeding studies essential for the evaluation of the safety of plant produced pesticidal substances for the development of environmental risk assessments.

The approach for 2010-2011 is for USDA-ARS to provide Monsanto a supply of approximately 1,000 eggs per month on average to allow Monsanto's development of in vitro rearing and laboratory bioassay methodologies. Monsanto will support, solely by the monetary contribution specified, the upkeep and development of USDA-ARS in-vivo-fed colony to assist in the development of study protocols for evaluating potential effects of plant incorporated protectants on survival, growth, and development of the non-target beneficial lady beetle C. maculata. USDA-ARS is also using this colony for field and lab behavior and ecology studies under the Project 1275-22000-235-00D, Biorational Technologies for Management of Chrysomelid Beetle Pests of Agricultural Crops, and a future project, Insect Management Systems for Urban Small Farms and Gardens.


3.Progress Report:

This agreement supports a source colony which has provided the insects for studies of predator dietary behavior for the lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata. This allows scientists to gain a better understanding of its role and value as a biological control agent in agroecosystems, and also to determine methods for better rearing this species in the lab and as a representative insect predator to test the nontarget effects of potential toxins on its growth, development, and fecundity. IIBBL is engaged in independent projects which assess the role of this predator in laboratory and field studies relating to agricultural crops, and the effects of diet mixing and switching on success of this omnivorous species. IIBBL has maintained a colony of this species and provided Monsanto with lady beetle eggs as needed, to allow Monsanto’s development of in vitro rearing and bioassay methodologies.


Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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