As a key component of ecological risk assessments, nontarget effects of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) rice have been tested under laboratory and field conditions for various organisms. A 2-yr field experiment was conducted to observe the nontarget effects of six transgenic rice lines (expressing the Cry1Ab or fused protein of Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac) on four nontarget thrips species including Frankliniella intonsa (Trybom), F. tenuicornis (Uzel), Haplothrips aculeatus (F.), and H. tritici (Kurd), as compared with their rice parental control lines. Two sampling methods including the beat plate and plastic bag method were used to monitor the population densities of the four thrips species for 2 yr. The results showed that the seasonal average densities of four tested thrips species in Bt rice plots were significantly lower than or very similar to those in the non-Bt rice plots depending on rice genotypes, sampling methods, and years. Among all six tested Bt rice lines, transgenic B1 and KMD2 lines suppressed the population of these tested thrips species the most. Our results indicate that the tested Bt rice lines are unlikely to result in high population pressure of thrips species in comparison with non-Bt rice. In some cases, Bt rice lines could significantly suppress thrips populations in the rice ecosystem. In addition, compatibility of Bt rice, with rice host plant resistance to nontarget sucking pests is also discussed within an overall integrated pest management program for rice.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1