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New Horizons in Insect Science: Towards Sustainable Pest Management

Molecular Approaches for the Improvement of Bacillus thuringiensis Against Pests

Ankit Patel, Leena Pathak, Noushad Parvez, Deepak Panpatte, Kuldeep Khatri, Janardan Jani

Biological Control Research Laboratory, Anand Agricultural University, 388110, Anand, Gujarat, India.


Multiple pest management tools including biological approaches, are generally recognized as possible solutions. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Berliner has been used as a biopesticide in agriculture. The insecticidal properties of this bacterium are due to insecticidal proteins. Genetic improvement of Bt natural strains, in particular Bt recombination, offers a promising means of improving efficacy and cost-effectiveness of Bt-based bioinsecticide products to develop new biotechnological applications; which describes site-specific recombination, including transposition and transduction. Applications of homologous recombination include disruption of cry and cyt genes to assess their contribution to pesticidal activity and inactivation of protease producing genes to increase crystal production and stability. Conjugation-like system is used to transfer cry encoding plasmids within strains but most cry genes are not readily transmissible by this process. Nevertheless, a number of transconjugant and naturally occurring strains producing Cry proteins distinct from those of Bt HD-1 subsp. kurstaki, including strains of Bt subsp. aizawai and Bt subsp. morrisoni, have been registered with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Engineering Bt and B. cereus came in 1989 through electroporation to transform vegetative cells with plasmid DNA. Genes conferring resistance to insects have been inserted into crop plants.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis, Molecular approaches, Pest, Resistance.

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