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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY-BASED MANAGEMENT OF INSECT PESTS OF CORN, WITH EMPHASIS ON CORN BORERS, ROOTWORMS, AND CUTWORMS

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Title: Comparison of fumonisin contamination using HPLC and ELISA methods in Bt and near-isogenic maize hybrids infested with European corn borer or Western bean cutworm

Authors
item Bowers, Erin -
item Hellmich, Richard
item Munkvold, Gary -

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 2014
Publication Date: June 25, 2014
Citation: Bowers, E., Hellmich II, R.L., Munkvold, G.P. 2014. Comparison of fumonisin contamination using HPLC and ELISA methods in Bt and near-isogenic maize hybrids infested with European corn borer or Western bean cutworm. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 62:6463-6472.

Interpretive Summary: Ear rot caused by the fungus Fusarium verticillioides is an important disease in maize because of detrimental impacts on plant health that result in economic losses from reductions in yield and grain quality. Also, production of mycotoxins, primarily fumonisins, in infected kernels produces negative health effects to both humans and animals when consumed. Field trials were conducted (2007 to 2010) to compare grain fumonisin levels among Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) hybrids with transgenic protection against European corn borer and Western bean cutworm and non-Bt maize hybrids. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to measure fumonisin levels. Results of the two methods were similar, though fumonisin estimates were higher with the ELISA method. Bt hybrids had significantly less insect injury, Fusarium ear rot, and fumonisin contamination compared to non-Bt hybrids. Western bean cutworm infestations significantly increased fumonisins compared to natural infestations in non-Bt and hybrids expressing Bt protein Cry1Ab in five of eight possible comparisons. On the other hand, Cry1F hybrids that were infested with western bean cutworm consistently had low fumonisin levels. These results indicate that ear injury from western bean cutworm has the potential to increase fumonisin levels in maize and protection against this pest with Cry1F hybrids reduces this risk. Transgenically expressed Bt proteins active against multiple Lepidopteran pests can provide broader, more consistent reductions in the risk of fumonisin contamination, especially compared with non-Bt maize hybrids. This information is useful to scientists, growers and consumers interested in the benefits of Bt corn and reducing mycotoxin levels in corn.

Technical Abstract: Field trials were conducted (2007 to 2010) to compare grain fumonisin levels among non-Bt maize hybrids and Bt hybrids with transgenic protection against European corn borer and Western bean cutworm (WBC). High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to measure fumonisin levels; results of the two methods were highly correlated, though estimates were higher using ELISA. Bt hybrids experienced significantly less insect injury, Fusarium ear rot, and fumonisin contamination compared to non-Bt hybrids. WBC infestation significantly increased fumonisins compared to natural infestation in non-Bt and hybrids expressing Bt protein Cry1Ab in five of eight possible comparisons; in Cry1F hybrids, WBC had no effect on fumonisins. These results indicate that ear injury from WBC has the potential to increase fumonisin levels in maize and protection against WBC with Cry1F avoids this risk. Transgenically expressed Bt proteins active against multiple Lepidopteran pests can provide broader, more consistent reductions in the risk of fumonisin contamination, especially compared with non-Bt maize hybrids.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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