Managing maize under pest species competition: is Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) maize the solution?

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Catarino, Rui ; Ceddia, Graziano ; Areal, Francisco ; Parisey, Nicolas ; Park, Julian (2016)
  • Publisher: Ecological Society of America
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1340
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: food and beverages | fungi

Transgenic crops that contain Cry genes from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have been adopted by farmers over the last 17 years. Unlike traditional broad spectrum chemical insecticides, Bt's toxicity spectrum is relatively narrow and selective, which may indirectly benefit secondary insects that may become important pests. The economic damage caused by the rise of secondary pests could offset some or all of the benefits associated with the use of Bt varieties. We develop a bioeconomic model to analyze the interactions between primary and secondary insect populations and the impact of different management options on insecticide use and economic impact over time. Results indicate that some of the benefits associated with the adoption of genetically engineered insect resistant crops may be eroded when taking into account ecological dynamics. It is suggested that secondary pests could easily become key insect pests requiring additional measures - such as insecticide applications or stacked traits – to keep their populations under the economic threshold.
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    1Economic and Social Sciences Research Division, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR UK 2Public Governance and Sustainable Development, Modul University, Vienna 1190 Austria

    3Ecologie et Génétique des Insectes, Institut de Génétique, Environnement et Protection des Plantes, INRA, Rennes, France Citation: Catarino, R., G. Ceddia, F. Areal, N. Parisey, and J. Park. 2016. Managing maize under pest species competition: Is Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) maize the solution? Ecosphere 7(6):e01340. 10.1002/ecs2.1340

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