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Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
(In Press) 2013

Cross-order and cross-phylum activity of Bacillus thuringiensispesticidal proteins

Kees van Frankenhuyzen

Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, 1219 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 2E5, Canada.


The increasing number of Bacillus thuringiensis proteins with pesticidal activities across orders and phyla raises the question how widespread cross-activities are and if they are of sufficient biological significance to have implications for ecological safety of those proteins in pest control applications. Cross-activity is reported for 27 proteins and 69 taxa and is substantiated by reasonable evidence (mortality estimates) in 19 cases involving 45 taxa. Cross-activities occur in 13 primary rank families across three classes of pesticidal proteins (Cry, Cyt and Vip), and comprise 13 proteins affecting species across two orders, five proteins affecting three orders and one protein affecting four orders, all within the class Insecta. Cross-activity was quantified (LC50 estimates) for 16 proteins and 25 taxa. Compared to toxicity ranges established for Diptera-, Coleoptera-, Lepidoptera- and Nematoda-active proteins, 13 cross-activities are in the low-toxicity range (10–1000 μg/ml), 12 in the medium – (0.10–10 μg/ml) and two in the high-toxicity range (0.01–0.10 μg/ml). Although cross-activities need to be viewed with caution until they are confirmed through independent testing, current evidence suggests that cross-activity of B. thuringiensis pesticidal proteins needs to be taken into consideration when designing and approving their use in pest control applications




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