Free access
Volume 32, Number 1, January-February 2001
Page(s) 57 - 68
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2001111

Apidologie 32 (2001) 57-68

Effects of ingestion of a Bacillus thuringiensis toxin and a trypsin inhibitor on honey bee flight activity and longevity

Louise A. Malonea, Elisabeth P.J. Burgessa, Heather S. Gatehouseb, Christine R. Voiseyc, Emma L. Tregidgaa and Bruce A. Philipa

a  Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited, Mt Albert Research Centre, Private Bag 92169, Auckland, New Zealand
b  Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited, Palmerston North Research Centre, Private Bag 11030, Palmerston North, New Zealand
c  New Zealand Pastoral Agriculture Research Institute Limited, Grasslands Research Centre, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North, New Zealand

(Received 26 April 2000; revised 27 September 2000; accepted 2 October 2000)

To assess potential impacts of transgenic pest-resistant plants, newly-emerged adult honey bees from ten colonies were tagged, placed in cages at 33 oC, and fed with 625 $\mu$g/g Cry1Ba Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin or 2.5 mg/g aprotinin proteinase inhibitor in pollen-food (equivalent to 0.25% or 1% of total soluble protein). Control bees were given similar food without additive. All foods were consumed at similar rates. After seven days, all bees were returned to their hives. Subsequent observations showed that Cry1Ba-fed bees did not differ significantly from control bees in the timing of their first flight, the period during which flights took place or in estimated longevity. However, aprotinin-fed bees began to fly and also died about three days sooner than Cry1Ba-fed or control bees. Their flight periods were similar to those of the other bees. The effects of transgenic aprotinin-plants on honey bees will thus depend on gene expression levels in pollen.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Bacillus thuringiensis / Cry1Ba toxin / proteinase inhibitor / aprotinin / transgenic plant

Correspondence and reprints: Louise A. Malone

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2001