Field trials were conducted from 2007 to 2010 to compare grain fumonisin levels among non-Bt maize hybrids and Bt hybrids with transgenic protection against manual infestations of European corn borer (ECB) and Western bean cutworm (WBC). HPLC and ELISA were used to measure fumonisin levels. Results of the methods were highly correlated, but ELISA estimates were higher. Bt hybrids experienced less insect injury, Fusarium ear rot, and fumonisin contamination compared to non-Bt hybrids. WBC infestation increased fumonisin content compared to natural infestation in non-Bt and hybrids expressing Cry1Ab protein in five of eight possible comparisons; in Cry1F hybrids, WBC did not impact fumonisins. These results indicate that WBC is capable of increasing fumonisin levels in maize. Under WBC infestation, Cry1F mitigated this risk more consistently than Cry1Ab or non-Bt hybrids. Transgenically expressed Bt proteins active against multiple lepidopteran pests can provide broad, consistent reductions in the risk of fumonisin contamination.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/richard_hellmich/146/