Location: Integrated Cropping Systems Research2011 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 adult P. chalcites for study of its role in agroecosystems of interest. Under this Trust Fund, the USDA North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory will provided 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 2010 is for USDA- North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory to provide Monsanto a supply of approximately 500 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 2010-11, traps were constructed in Brookings County cornfields, and were monitored every 48 h. Poecilus chalcites, a beneficial ground beetle, were identified and placed into a rearing chamber for breeding. After 1 week, the beetles were sexed, and several hundred females were isolated into finely sifted soil. The soil was cleaned and passed through a sieve, extracting any P. chalcites eggs. These eggs were placed onto sterile filter papers in a Petri dish, and groups of 100-200 eggs were mailed multiple times to Monsanto over the summer months to support their toxicity assay system. Small directed experiments have improved our rearing protocols to optimize this collaboration.