Transgenic rice expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry1Ab protein is expected to be commercialized in China in the near future. The use of Bt rice for controlling insect pests sparks intensive debates regarding its biosafety. Folsomia Candida is an euedaphic species and is often used as a “standard” test organism in assessing effects of environmental pollutants on soil organisms. In this study, growth, development, reproduction, and superoxide dismutase activity (SOD) of F. Candida were investigated in the laboratory for populations reared on leaf tissue or leaf-soil mixtures of two Cry1Ab rice lines and a non-Bt rice isoline. Two independent tests were performed: 1) a 35-d test using petri dishes containing yeast diet (positive control) or fresh rice leaf tissue, and 2) a 28-d test in soil-litter microcosms containing yeast or a mixture of soil and rice leaf tissue. Biological parameters measured in both tests were number of progeny production, population growth rate, and SOD activity. For the petri dish test, data measured also included insect body length and number of exuviation. There were no significant differences between the populations reared on Bt and non-Bt rice leaf tissue in all measured parameters in both tests and for both Bt rice lines, suggesting no significant effects of the Cry1Ab protein in Bt rice on F. Candida in the laboratory studies. Results of this study should add additional biosafety proofs for use of Bt rice to manage rice pests in China.
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