A 2-year field study shows little evidence that the long-term planting of transgenic insect-resistant cotton affects the community structure of soil nematodes.

TitleA 2-year field study shows little evidence that the long-term planting of transgenic insect-resistant cotton affects the community structure of soil nematodes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLi X, Liu B
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue4
Paginatione61670
Date Published2013
Abstract

Transgenic insect-resistant cotton has been released into the environment for more than a decade in China to effectively control the cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) and other Lepidoptera. Because of concerns about undesirable ecological side-effects of transgenic crops, it is important to monitor the potential environmental impact of transgenic insect-resistant cotton after commercial release. Our 2-year study included 1 cotton field where non-transgenic cotton had been planted continuously and 2 other cotton fields where transgenic insect-resistant cotton had been planted for different lengths of time since 1997 and since 2002. In 2 consecutive years (2009 and 2010), we took soil samples from 3 cotton fields at 4 different growth stages (seedling, budding, boll-forming and boll-opening stages), collected soil nematodes from soil with the sugar flotation and centrifugation method and identified the soil nematodes to the genus level. The generic composition, individual densities and diversity indices of the soil nematodes did not differ significantly between the 2 transgenic cotton fields and the non-transgenic cotton field, but significant seasonal variation was found in the individual densities of the principal trophic groups and in the diversity indices of the nematodes in all 3 cotton fields. The study used a comparative perspective to monitor the impact of transgenic insect-resistant cotton grown in typical 'real world' conditions. The results of the study suggested that more than 10 years of cultivation of transgenic insect-resistant cotton had no significant effects-adverse or otherwise-on soil nematodes. This study provides a theoretical basis for ongoing environmental impact monitoring of transgenic plants.

DOI10.1242/bio.20133988
Alternate JournalPLoS ONE