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      Fate of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry3Bb1 protein in a soil microcosm.

      Endotoxins, analysis, genetics, metabolism, Half-Life, Insecticides, Plant Leaves, Plant Roots, Plant Stems, Plants, Genetically Modified, Soil, Zea mays

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          Transgenic crops expressing insecticidal, crystalline (Cry) Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins were commercialized in the US in 1996. There is little information in the peer-reviewed literature on the environmental fate of the coleopteran-active Bt Cry3Bb1 protein expressed in event MON863 corn. The exposure characterization of Bt proteins is unique in that the fate of the protein in soil and in crop residue must be considered. To date, the significance of macrodecomposing organisms, such as earthworms, isopods, and springtails, to the dissipation of Bt proteins present in crop residue has not been assessed. In addition, the input of Bt proteins into soil through leaching from post-harvest crop residue has not been examined. Two laboratory microcosm studies were conducted to determine the fate of Bt Cry3Bb1 in decomposing MON863 corn residue and to determine whether Bt proteins can enter soil by leaching from crop residue. In addition, the importance of macrodecomposing organisms to the degradation of Bt proteins in corn residue was assessed. Laboratory microcosms containing MON863 corn leaf, root, and stalk with and without macrodecomposers were used to examine the fate of Bt Cry3Bb1 in post-harvest MON863 corn residue. A half-life of less than five days was found for Bt Cry3Bb1 protein in decomposing MON863 corn residue. There was a trend of increasing half-life of Cry3Bb1 in microcosms containing macrodecomposers, however, this trend was only significant (p<0.05) for Bt Cry3Bb1 in MON863 leaf tissue and this increase is not likely relevant for non-target exposure. The recovery of Bt Cry3Bb1 protein from soil extracts was either below the limit of quantification (9 ng g(-1) soil) or below the limit of detection (0.7 ng mL(-1)) at all time points during the study. Based on the results from this study, Bt protein leaching from post-harvest crop residue is not a significant contributor to Bt protein input into soil.

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          Endotoxins,analysis,genetics,metabolism,Half-Life,Insecticides,Plant Leaves,Plant Roots,Plant Stems,Plants, Genetically Modified,Soil,Zea mays


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