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Effects of tobacco genetically modified to express protease inhibitor bovine spleen trypsin inhibitor on non-target soil organisms

  • Maureen O'Callaghan (a1), Michael Brownbridge (a1) (a2), Wendy B. Stilwell (a1), Emily M. Gerard (a1), Elisabeth P.J. Burgess (a3), Emma I. Barraclough (a3) and John T. Christeller (a4)...

Abstract

Effects of tobacco genetically modified to express the protease inhibitor bovine spleen trypsin inhibitor (BSTI) were examined in laboratory assays against three earthworm and one collembolan species. BSTI is a serine protease inhibitor that can bind to the digestive trypsins of insects feeding on modified plants, resulting in reduced growth and survival. Protease inhibitors are active against a broad range of insects, so may have a large impact on non-target organisms. Survival and fecundity of the collembolan Folsomia candida were unaffected by consumption of artificial diet containing BSTI-expressing tobacco leaf or powdered freeze-dried BSTI-expressing tobacco leaf that was added to soil. Similarly, mortality and growth of earthworms Aporrectodea caliginosa and Lumbricus rubellus did not differ significantly between soil augmented with BSTI-expressing tobacco leaves or unmodified control leaves. The redworm Eisenia fetida gained less weight when provided with BSTI-expressing leaves in one assay, but when the experiment was repeated, there was no significant difference between treatments. BSTI-expressing tobacco and unmodified control leaves decomposed at the same rate, indicating that the inhibitor had no effect on the overall function of the decomposer community of micro-flora and fauna in soil.

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Effects of tobacco genetically modified to express protease inhibitor bovine spleen trypsin inhibitor on non-target soil organisms

  • Maureen O'Callaghan (a1), Michael Brownbridge (a1) (a2), Wendy B. Stilwell (a1), Emily M. Gerard (a1), Elisabeth P.J. Burgess (a3), Emma I. Barraclough (a3) and John T. Christeller (a4)...

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