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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Test System on the Beneficial Ground Beetle Poecilus Chalcites

Location: North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative agreement is the laboratory rearing of field collected ground beetles (Poecilus chalcites, Caracbidae) to use as a source colony for eggs for use with standardized diets and test system methods in agro-ecological non-target organism safety studies.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The USDA North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory will collect and maintain a seasonal colony of adult P. chalcites for study of its role in agroecosystems of interest. Under this Trust Fund, the USDA North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory will provide a source of P. chalcites eggs to Monsanto Company for development of standardized diets that allow completion of P. chalcites life cycle and the development of repeatable laboratory feeding studies. The cooperative agreement will provide 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 development of harmonized laboratory Tier I maximum dose limit tests feeding studies essential for the evaluation of the safety of plant produced pesticidal substances for the development of environmental risk assessments.

The approach for 2012 and 2013 is for USDA- North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory to provide Monsanto a supply of approximately 1,000 eggs over the agreement period 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 the P. chalcites colony at USDA- North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory 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 ground beetle P. chalcites. USDA-North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory will also use this colony for development of independent study projects.


3.Progress Report:

In 2011, efforts to overwinter P. chalcites adults met with limited success. In 2012, hundreds of pitfall traps were established in three distinct habitats near the USDA-ARS facility in Brookings, SD. Hundreds of P. chalcites females were isolated from the traps, mated, and placed into individual cups. These traps are collected three times per week. As of 7/16/12, two batches of P. chalcites eggs were mailed to Monsanto, after hand-sifting each egg from the oviposition soil. The first batch included 150 eggs; the second batch was 600 eggs. Monsanto requested eggs for their definitive assay to be shipped in early August, and the colony is poised to provide for their needs. Discussions were initiated regarding conducting a collaborative project on the prey-mediated non-target effects of pesticidal RNAi. Focal species would be caterpillar prey and P. chalcites adults.


Last Modified: 11/21/2014
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