• Susceptibility of Southwestern Pink Bollworm to Bt toxins Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab2 in 2005

      Dennehy, Timothy J.; Unnithan, Gopalan C.; Harpold, Virginia; Carrière, Yves; Tabashnik, Bruce; Antilla, Larry; Whitlow, Mike; Tronstad, Russell; Department of Entomology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Arizona Cotton Research & Protection Council, Phoenix, Arizona (College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-08)
      Bt cotton is an extremely important tool for integrated pest management in the Southwest. It has been a major factor in the current historic low levels of conventional insecticide use in cotton of this region. This is due to Bt cotton’s unprecedented efficacy against the pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella, and its selectivity in favor of key natural enemies of arthropod pests. Due to the pivotal importance of Bt cotton and widespread concerns about the development of pest resistance to transgenic crops, a multi-agency resistance management program was established to monitor and pro-actively manage resistance development in the pink bollworm. This report constitutes results from the ninth year of this monitoring program. Larvae were obtained from bolls collected in cotton fields located throughout the Southwest, cultured in the laboratory, and offspring tested using diet-incorporation bioassays that discriminate between susceptible and resistant pink bollworm. A total of 11 Arizona and four California collections were successfully reared and tested for susceptibility to Cry1Ac using a discriminating concentration of 10 μg Cry1Ac/ml of diet. Susceptibility to Cry2Ab2 was estimated similarly for 12 strains from Arizona and four from California using diagnostic concentrations of 1.0 and 10 μg Cry2Ab2/ml of diet. Success of pink bollworm eradication in suppressing pink bollworm populations in New Mexico and Texas precluded successful collection of samples in those states. No survivors of 10 μg Cry1Ac/ml were detected in any bioassays of 2005 strains (n=5358). The grand mean frequency of PBW survival of 10 μg Cry1Ac/ml in 2005 was 0.000%. A susceptible culture, APHIS-S, used each year as an internal control, yielded 99.3% corrected mortality in tests of 10μg/ml Cry1Ac (n=490). All twelve pink bollworm strains collected in 2005 were highly susceptible to Cry2Ab2, based on contrasts with baseline data collected from 2001-2003. There were no survivors of bioassays of either 1.0 μg Cry2Ab2/ml (n=1,000) or 10 μg Cry2Ab2/ml (n=3425). The susceptible APHIS-S culture had 82.5% corrected mortality in tests of 10 μg/ml Cry2Ab2 (n=200) and 100% mortality in tests of 10 μg/ml Cry2Ab2 (n=120). Field evaluations of efficacy of Bt cotton were conducted by the Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council in adjacent pairs of Bt and non-Bt fields at 44 Arizona locations. Statewide, large pink bollworm larvae were found in an average of 15% of non-Bt bolls sampled from borders of refuge fields. This was on the low end of the range of infestation levels observed in refuges during the past decade. Bolls from adjacent Bt cotton (Bollgard™) fields yielded an average of 0.28% infested bolls. This value was down slightly from the previous year. Over 70% of the pink bollworm recovered from collections in Bt fields were from bolls that did not express Bt toxin. We conclude that there was no indication of problems with pink bollworm resistance to Cry1Ac or Cry2Ab2 at the locations sampled in 2005. Moreover, Bt cotton continued to exhibit exceptional field performance in Arizona.