A series of laboratory assays were performed to compare the relative impact of commercial and experimental cultivars of cotton, Gossypium hirsutum (L.), expressing zero, one, or two insecticidal proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner, on several lepidopteran pests. Assays in which larvae were fed fresh plant tissue indicated that dual-toxin B. thuringiensis (Bt) cultivars, expressing both Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab endotoxins of B. thuringiensis, were more toxic to bollworms, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), fall armyworms, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), and beet armyworms, Spodoptera exigua (Hübner), than single-toxin cultivars expressing Cry1Ac. Assays in which lyophilized plant tissue was incorporated into artificial diet also indicated improved activity of the dual-toxin Bt cultivar compared with single-toxin plants. Both bollworm and tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens (F.), growth was reduced by Bt cotton, particularly the dual-toxin cultivar. Although assays with lyophilized tissues were done using largely sublethal doses, bollworm survival was reduced by the dual-toxin cultivar. It appears that this newly developed Bt cotton expressing two toxins will be more effective and have a wider range of activity on these lepidopteran pests.
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Vol. 94 • No. 3