Use of transgenic maize expressing phytase in seeds as feedstuff can greatly increase phosphate availability to livestock and poultry. Because phosphorus is an essential mineral for all living organisms, growing of phytase transgenic maize may affect the performance of the arthropod community in maize fields. We conducted a preliminary study to assess the potential effects of phytase transgenic maize (BVLA430101) on two herbivore species, Ostrinia furnacalis (Guenée) and Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), both of which are directly exposed to high concentrations of phytase caused by ingestion of transgenic maize kernels. Our results showed that for both species, survival and duration of the first and second instars and fresh weight of the third instar were not affected when fed transgenic phytase maize kernels compared with those fed nontransformed near isoline kernels. Similarly, there was no statistical difference detected for the same life table parameters when the herbivores were fed artificial diet containing either transgenic phytase maize meal or nontransformed maize meal. In addition, the nutrition utilization of the two species was evaluated with the same diet treatments by comparing the following indices: relative food consumption rate (RCR), relative metabolic rate (RMR), efficiency of approximate digestibility (EAD), efficiency of conversation of ingested food (ECI), and efficiency of conversation of digested food (ECD). No statistical difference was detected for any index of either species between transgenic maize and nontransformed maize treatments. These results provide useful baseline information for further studies to assess the potential effects of phytase transgenic maize on other arthropods in maize fields.
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