Insecticidal Toxin Useless Without 'Friendly' Bacteria Accomplices

Sunday, March 8, 2009 - 22:21 in Biology & Nature

The toxin produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis is a popular insecticide used to control pest moths and butterflies, and in some GM pest-proof crops. In a study published in BMC Biology, researchers show that its effectiveness against a number of susceptible Lepidopteran species depends on the presence of the normally "friendly" bacteria that colonize their guts. Without these bacteria, the Bt toxin can become impotent in some species.

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