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PERSISTENCE IN SOIL OF TRANSGENIC PLANT PRODUCED BACILLUS THURINGIENSIS VAR. KURSTAKI O-ENDOTOXIN1
Palm, C. J., D. L. Schaller, K. K. Donegan, AND R. Seidler. PERSISTENCE IN SOIL OF TRANSGENIC PLANT PRODUCED BACILLUS THURINGIENSIS VAR. KURSTAKI O-ENDOTOXIN1. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 42(12):1258-1262, (1996).
Transgenic plants that produce pesticidal proteins will release these proteins into the soil when these plants are incorporated into the soil by tillage or as leaf litter. Little is known about the fate and persistence of transgenic plant pesticidal products in the soil. We used a model system of transgenic cotton that produces Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki o-endotoxin (Btk toxin) to evaluate the persistence of transgenic pesticides in soil. Purified Btk toxin or transgenic cotton leaves containing Btk toxin were added to soil in five different microcosm experiments in concentrations ranging from 1 to 1600 ng Btk toxin/g soil. The concentration of the extractable Btk toxin was measured for up to 140 days. An initial rapid decline in extractable toxin concentration in the first 14 days, followed by a slower decline, was observed in four of the five experiments. At the end of the experiments, Btk toxin from transgenic plant tissue was undetectable (less than 0.1% of starting concentration) in two of the microcosm experiments and at 3, 16, and 35% of the orginial amounts in the other experiments. In addition, experiments using y-irradiated sterilized soil indicated that the observed decline in extractable toxin concentraion was due largely to biotic degradation rather than to physical adsorption by the soil.