Genetically modified (GM) crops are considered a good way to reduce insecticide use and the presence of certain agricultural pests, thus improving food and environmental safety. Nevertheless, effects of GM plant residues on the soil food web are still poorly understood. Zea mays L., enriched with a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner subsp. kurstaki (Bt) as a defence against the maize borer, is widely cultivated. In this study, we explored the in- vertebrate food webs associated with residues of Bt and non-Bt maize, respectively represented by DKC6575, with a Cry1Ab transgene (event MON810), and its near-isogenic Tietar variety, in a five-month field experiment. C and N stable isotopes and Bayesian mixing models were used to assess trophic niche metrics and track nutrient flows from maize residues and weeds occurring in maize crops to invertebrate detritivores and predators. While there were no initial differences in the structural components of maize residues between varieties, after five months of exposure in the field, the lignin content was higher and the organic matter content was lower in non-Bt than in Bt maize. Organic matter depletion over time was associated with a decrease in primary consumer abun- dance and an increase in their trophic niche width in both Bt and non-Bt maize, but it was faster in the former. The abundance of primary consumers and predators was higher in non-Bt than in Bt maize, but the distribution of organisms across trophic levels differed between varieties, with prey availability being lower in non-Bt than in Bt maize. This allowed Bt-associated predators to maintain a diet based primarily on the maize food chain through- out the experimental period. In contrast, non-Bt-associated predators were more dependent on weed-feeding prey by the end of the experiment, increasing the coupling between the maize and weed energy channels in the soil food web. Some taxon-specific effects were evident. Less vagile organisms such as Diptera had a specific diet mostly related to maize regardless of variety and time, while the diets of more vagile organisms like Coleoptera and Opiliones changed the most over time. Overall, our results suggest that the attractiveness of non-Bt maize residues for invertebrate consumers is higher than the Bt variety, although the higher recalcitrant content follow- ing decomposition reduces it over time. The attractiveness also affects the movement of invertebrate predators (potentially including pest control agents) and thus nutrient flows in tri-trophic detritus-based food webs in culti- vated and uncultivated plots.

Trophic attractiveness for soil fauna of residues of Bt and near-isogenic maize. A C and N stable isotope-based study / Sporta Caputi, Simona; Rossi, Loreto; Pons, Xavier; Careddu, Giulio; Calizza, Edoardo; Costantini, Maria Letizia. - In: AGRICULTURE, ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0167-8809. - 329:(2022). [10.1016/j.agee.2022.107868]

Trophic attractiveness for soil fauna of residues of Bt and near-isogenic maize. A C and N stable isotope-based study

Sporta Caputi, Simona;Rossi, Loreto;Careddu, Giulio;Calizza, Edoardo
;
Costantini, Maria Letizia
2022

Abstract

Genetically modified (GM) crops are considered a good way to reduce insecticide use and the presence of certain agricultural pests, thus improving food and environmental safety. Nevertheless, effects of GM plant residues on the soil food web are still poorly understood. Zea mays L., enriched with a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner subsp. kurstaki (Bt) as a defence against the maize borer, is widely cultivated. In this study, we explored the in- vertebrate food webs associated with residues of Bt and non-Bt maize, respectively represented by DKC6575, with a Cry1Ab transgene (event MON810), and its near-isogenic Tietar variety, in a five-month field experiment. C and N stable isotopes and Bayesian mixing models were used to assess trophic niche metrics and track nutrient flows from maize residues and weeds occurring in maize crops to invertebrate detritivores and predators. While there were no initial differences in the structural components of maize residues between varieties, after five months of exposure in the field, the lignin content was higher and the organic matter content was lower in non-Bt than in Bt maize. Organic matter depletion over time was associated with a decrease in primary consumer abun- dance and an increase in their trophic niche width in both Bt and non-Bt maize, but it was faster in the former. The abundance of primary consumers and predators was higher in non-Bt than in Bt maize, but the distribution of organisms across trophic levels differed between varieties, with prey availability being lower in non-Bt than in Bt maize. This allowed Bt-associated predators to maintain a diet based primarily on the maize food chain through- out the experimental period. In contrast, non-Bt-associated predators were more dependent on weed-feeding prey by the end of the experiment, increasing the coupling between the maize and weed energy channels in the soil food web. Some taxon-specific effects were evident. Less vagile organisms such as Diptera had a specific diet mostly related to maize regardless of variety and time, while the diets of more vagile organisms like Coleoptera and Opiliones changed the most over time. Overall, our results suggest that the attractiveness of non-Bt maize residues for invertebrate consumers is higher than the Bt variety, although the higher recalcitrant content follow- ing decomposition reduces it over time. The attractiveness also affects the movement of invertebrate predators (potentially including pest control agents) and thus nutrient flows in tri-trophic detritus-based food webs in culti- vated and uncultivated plots.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1607151
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