Differences in larval survival and development of bollworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), and fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), respectively, were found to exist among commercially available Cry1A(c) transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt) varieties. Using a quantification assay (ELISA) to measure the levels of δ-endotoxin in two of these varieties (‘DP 451B/RR’ and ‘NuCOTN 33B’), differences in the amount of δ-endotoxin present in various plant parts was correlated with larval survival of bollworms and larval development of fall armyworms throughout the growing season. Larvae that were fed on DP 451B/RR completed development faster and exhibited better survivorship than those larvae fed NuCOTN 33B, whereas lower levels of δ-endotoxin were generally detected in plant parts from DP 451B/RR compared with NuCOTN 33B. These differences may impact population dynamics of these pests which may be a critical factor in managing resistance to Bt. Furthermore, the utility of using this system for providing information to the grower concerning varietal choices may be more common in the future.
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Vol. 94 • No. 1