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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management Strategies for Arid-land Crops

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: Effects on non-target organisms

Author
item NARANJO, STEVEN

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 29, 2013
Publication Date: July 31, 2014
Citation: Naranjo, S.E. 2014. Effects on non-target organisms. Book Chapter. 129-142. Plant Biotechnology - Experience and Future Prospects, A. Ricroch, S. Chopra, S. Fleischer (eds.), Springer, Dordrecht-Heidelberg-London-New York.

Interpretive Summary: Crop genetically engineered to provide resistance to specific groups of insect pests have been adopted by millions of growers throughout the world. GM crops have become important tools in crop production and protection in many countries and contribute significantly to overall IPM programs. There, however, remain concerns about the environmental safety of these crops, especially there effects on non-target organisms and biodiversity. Bt crops that produce the protein toxins from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, have been widely studied in both the laboratory and field relative to their effects on non-target organisms, particularly invertebrates inhabiting agriculture ecosystems. This body of evidence and the quantitative and qualitative syntheses of the data through meta-analysis and other compilations generally indicate a lack of direct impacts of Bt crops and the insecticidal proteins they produce on non-target invertebrates. Some indirect effects associated with reduced abundance or quality of Bt target prey have been shown, but the ramifications of these effects are unclear. As one tactic in the IPM toolbox, Bt crops have had a profound effect on insecticide use patterns. While reduced insecticide use may be involved in precipitating new pest problems in Bt crops it also has broadened opportunities for deployment of another IPM tactic, biological control.

Technical Abstract: Crop genetically engineered to provide resistance to specific groups of insect pests have been adopted by millions of growers throughout the world. GM crops have become important tools in crop production and protection in many countries and contribute significantly to overall IPM programs. There, however, remain concerns about the environmental safety of these crops, especially there effects on non-target organisms and biodiversity. Bt crops that produce the protein toxins from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, have been widely studied in both the laboratory and field relative to their effects on non-target organisms, particularly invertebrates inhabiting agriculture ecosystems. This body of evidence and the quantitative and qualitative syntheses of the data through meta-analysis and other compilations generally indicate a lack of direct impacts of Bt crops and the insecticidal proteins they produce on non-target invertebrates. Some indirect effects associated with reduced abundance or quality of Bt target prey have been shown, but the ramifications of these effects are unclear. As one tactic in the IPM toolbox, Bt crops have had a profound effect on insecticide use patterns. While reduced insecticide use may be involved in precipitating new pest problems in Bt crops it also has broadened opportunities for deployment of another IPM tactic, biological control.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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