ChapterPDF AvailableLiterature Review

Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh: The First Genetically Engineered Food Crop in a Developing Country

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Eggplant, or brinjal (Solanum melongena), is a popularly consumed vegetable grown throughout Asia that is prone to vicious and sustained attack by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) (Leucinodes orbonalis) throughout the growing season. Yield losses in Bangladesh because of EFSB infestation have been reported as high as 86%. Farmers reduce crop losses by frequent applications of insecticide. To counter the EFSB pest, Bangladesh has developed and released four Bt brinjal varieties expressing Cry1Ac (Bt brinjal). Bangladesh is the first developing country to release a commercial genetically engineered (GE) food crop. In this article, we discuss the development and adoption of Bt brinjal in Bangladesh from initial distribution to 20 farmers in 2014 to cultivation by more than 27,000 farmers in 2018. Bt brinjal provides essentially complete control of EFSB, dramatically reduces insecticide sprays, provides a sixfold increase in grower profit, and does not affect non target arthropod biodiversity. A major focus is to ensure its durability through stewardship. Bangladesh has shown great leadership in adopting biotechnology for the benefit of its farmers and serves as an example for other countries.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh: The First Genetically
Engineered Food Crop in a Developing Country
Anthony M. Shelton,1Md. J. Hossain,2Vijay Paranjape,3Md. Z.H. Prodhan,4Abul K. Azad,4
Rituparna Majumder,3Sayed H. Sarwer,2and Md. A. Hossain2
1
Department of Entomology, Cornell/NYSAES, Geneva, New York, 14456, USA
2
Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA
3
Sathguru Management Consultants Private Limited, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad 500034, India
4
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Gazipur 1701, Bangladesh
Correspondence: ams5@cornell.edu
Eggplant, or brinjal (Solanum melongena), is a popularly consumed vegetable grown
throughout Asia that is prone to vicious and sustained attack by the eggplant fruit and
shoot borer (EFSB) (Leucinodes orbonalis) throughout the growing season. Yield losses in
Bangladesh because of EFSB infestation have been reported as high as 86%. Farmers
reduce crop losses by frequent applications of insecticide. To counter the EFSB pest,
Bangladesh has developed and released four Bt brinjal varieties expressing Cry1Ac
(Bt brinjal). Bangladesh is the first developing country to release a commercial genetically
engineered (GE) food crop. In this article, we discuss the development and adoption of Bt
brinjal in Bangladesh from initial distribution to 20 farmers in 2014 to cultivation by more
than 27,000 farmers in 2018. Bt brinjal provides essentially complete control of EFSB, dra-
matically reduces insecticide sprays, provides a sixfold increasein grower profit, and does not
affect nontarget arthropod biodiversity. A major focus is to ensure its durability through
stewardship. Bangladesh has shown great leadership in adopting biotechnology for the
benefit of its farmers and serves as an example for other countries.
HISTORY OF Bt CROPS
One of the earliest published reports of a
genetically engineered (GE) plant express-
ing insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins from the
bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), was by
Monsanto scientists who transformed the toma-
to in 1987 (Fischhoff et al. 1987). Their report
was prescient when the authors wrote, These
engineered tomato plants represent a signicant
step to increased selectivity, specicity and ef-
cacy in insect control.In fact, Bt plants have
revolutionized insect pest management in corn
and cotton worldwide (Shelton et al. 2002; Ro-
meis et al. 2008) by effectively controlling key
insect pests while conserving their natural ene-
mies (Romeis et al. 2019). However, perhaps the
authors could not fully anticipate the extent of
the social and political activism that their new
technology would cause.
From an agronomic standpoint, Bt crops
should be considered another form of a pest-
Editor: Pamela C. Ronald
Additional Perspectives on Engineering Plants for Agriculture available at www.cshperspectives.org
Copyright © 2019 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved
Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678
1
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
resistant crop (Kennedy 2008). They share the
same potential benets (e.g., reduced need for
insecticides) and liabilities (e.g., insects develop-
ing resistance to the Bt proteins they express) as
conventionally bred crops with host-plant-
resistant characteristics. There is a long history
of conventional breeding to develop crops resis-
tant to insect pests and much of this work con-
tinues to this day. Breeding for insect resistance
has been especially successful in the case of eld
crops (e.g., wheat lines resistant to the Hessian
y and alfalfa lines resistant to the soybean
aphid) and many of the genes have been identi-
ed (Smith and Clement 2012). However, there
has been little success in developing resistant
lines to insect pests in the orders of Lepidoptera
(caterpillars) and Coleoptera (beetles); these two
orders contain many of the worlds most dam-
aging pests.
Host plant resistance is considered a corner-
stone of integrated pest management (IPM) be-
cause it provides an effective and economic way
by which crop damage can be avoided (Stern
et al. 1959; Naranjo and Ellsworth 2009). Bt
crops are the rst of what can be considered
GE insect-protected crops, but they will certain-
ly not be the last.
Bt is a family of bacteria that contains insec-
ticidal proteins that, when ingested by certain
insects, cause holes in their midgut that disrupt
its function and lead to their death (Heckel
2012). Bt has been used as a foliar insecticide
for decades and, although it had relatively lim-
ited use, it has a stellar safety record for humans
and the environment (Shelton et al. 2002). Bt
has critical limitations when used as a foliarly
applied insecticide. First, its short persistence
(24 days) may lead to frequent applications,
which costs the farmer not only money for the
product but also for its application. Second, be-
cause it needs to be ingested by the targeted
insect, thorough coverage of plant parts is re-
quired. Such coverage is extremely difcult
to obtain in many crops, especially those in
which the insect bores into tissues, such as the
European corn borer that bores into the stalk as
well as into the ear. These limitations were over-
come when the genes producing the Cry
proteins were introduced into plants and the
proteins were expressed in insect-susceptible
plant parts.
The rst GE crop to be commercialized
anywhere was in 1995 using potato cultivars ex-
pressing the Bacillus thuringiensis var tenebrio-
nis Cry 3A toxin against the Colorado potato
beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decem lineata (Say)
(cv NewLeaf, Monsanto). Bt potato controlled
CPB very well even under intense pressure. How-
ever, Nature Mark, which marketed the product
for Monsanto, dissolved after the 2001 season
(Shelton 2012). The product was doomed be-
cause of several factors, most notably the contro-
versy about a GE food crop. Such controversy
continues for other fresh food crops. Meanwhile,
Bt cotton and maize have been far more success-
ful. In 2017, 59.7 million hectares of Bt maize and
24.1 million hectares of Bt cotton were grown
globally (James 2018).
Bt crops have revolutionized insect pest
management by providing host plant resistance
to key pests in the insect orders, Lepidoptera
and Coleoptera. Prior to the development of Bt
crops, there were few examples of strong host
plant resistance to these insect orders. For de-
cades, Bt had limited use as a foliar insecticide
primarily for organic growers, who had limited
alternatives, and for arboreal pests where ecolog-
ical sensitivity was critical. However, when in-
secticidal genes were incorporated into Bt crops,
Bt quickly became a major insecticide. The
adoption rates for Bt crops have been unprece-
dented in agriculture (James 2000). Between
1996 and 2015, this adoption has been associat-
ed with increases in farm income of more than
$50,274M and $45,958M in Bt cotton and
maize, respectively, and reductions of more
than 268M and 87M kg of insecticide-active in-
gredient in Bt cotton and maize, respectively
(Brookes and Barfoot 2017). However, the po-
tential benets provided by Bt crops have
largely gone unrealized in fruits and vegetables
where insect management continues to rely
primarily on the use of synthetic insecticides.
Except for the use of Bt sweet corn, which has
provided excellent control of ear-infesting cat-
erpillars (Shelton et al. 2013), currently no Bt
vegetables or fruits are commercialized. This is
changing in at least one country of Southeast
A.M. Shelton et al.
2Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
AsiaBangladeshwith its 2014 release of Bt
eggplant.
EGGPLANT IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Solanum melongena L. (eggplant, also known as
brinjal in India and Bangladesh, and talong in
the Philippines) is one of the most important,
inexpensive, and popular vegetable crops grown
and consumed in Asia. Although its popularity
varies by country in Asia, it is generally con-
sidered as one of the top ve vegetables in
Asia. The biggest constraint to eggplant produc-
tion throughout Asia is a chronic and wide-
spread infestation by the eggplant fruit and
shoot borer (EFSB), Leucinodes orbonalis (Gue-
née) (Ali et al. 1980). Caterpillars damage egg-
plant by boring into the petiole and midrib of
leaves and tender shoots, resulting in wilting and
desiccation of stems. Larvae also feed on owers,
which results in ower drop or misshapen fruits.
The most serious economic damage caused by
EFSB is to the fruit, because the holes, feeding
tunnels, and frass (larval excrement) make the
fruit unmarketable and unt for human con-
sumption (Fig. 1). To control this insect, farmers
routinely spray broad-spectrum insecticides, of-
ten 23 times per week, and, in some cases, twice
a day (for an example of commonly used insec-
ticides, see Del Prado-Lu 2015). Consequently, it
is not uncommon to apply over 100 sprays per
season, resulting in high residues on marketable
fruit. Such an insecticide-dependent strategy
poses both environmental and health concerns.
Environmental concerns include killing natural
enemies that can help reduce pest populations,
leaching of active pesticide ingredients into the
soil and water, and harming pollinators. Health
concerns include being a hazard to the applica-
tor and farm workers, as well as to the consumer
from high pesticide residues on the fruit. Typi-
cally, those who spray the crop are not aware of
the hazards of pesticides and do not use any
personal protective equipment (Fig. 2). These
problems have been well documented in Ban-
gladesh and other countries (bteggplant.cornell.
edu/content/facts; bic.searca.org; Del Prado-Lu
2015). In addition to environmental and health
concerns, populations of EFSB have also devel-
oped resistance to many foliar insecticides
(Shirale et al. 2017).
EGGPLANT IN BANGLADESH
Bangladesh is a country of 147,570 km
2
with a
population of more than 165 million (Fig. 3).
Vegetables are an important component of the
Bangladeshi diet and more than 90 vegetables
are cultivated. In terms of area and overall pro-
duction, eggplant (brinjal ) is the second-most-
important vegetable grown by an estimated
150,000 resource-poor farmers on 51,000 ha
throughout Bangladesh. Brinjal constitutes
about 14.9% of winter vegetable production
Figure 1. Eggplant fruit and shoot borer damage in
non-Bt brinjal. (Photograph from the personal collec-
tion of Md. Arif Hossain.)
Figure 2. Bangladeshi farmer spraying an insecticide
in non-Bt brinjal crop. (Photograph from the person-
al collection of Md. Arif Hossain.)
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh
Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678 3
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
and 9.7% of summer production (Bangladesh
Bureau of Statistics 2018).
DEVELOPMENT OF Bt EGGPLANT
As an alternative to intensive use of insecticides,
the India-based Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Com-
pany (Mahyco) inserted the cry1Ac gene, under
the control of the constitutive 35S CaMV pro-
moter, into eggplant (termed eventEE-1) to
control feeding damage by EFSB (Mahyco has
had a long-term relationship with Monsanto in
India for producing Bt cotton. Monsanto was
recently acquired by Bayer). The cry1A gene is
widely used in Bt cotton and has a long history
of safe use (ILSI CERA, 2010). Bt eggplant dem-
Figure 3. Map of Bangladesh. (Figure reprinted courtesy of childrenrights24@blogspot.com.)
A.M. Shelton et al.
4Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
onstrated control of EFSB in contained green-
house trials in India. In late 2003, a partnership
was formed between Mahyco, Cornell Universi-
ty, the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), and public sector part-
ners in India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines
under the Agricultural Biotechnology Support
Project II (ABSPII) (Shelton et al. 2017). Mahyco
donated the EE-1 event to the Bangladesh Agri-
cultural Research Institute (BARI), and Mahyco
incorporated it into BARI-developed local open-
pollinated (OP) varieties (OP lines allow farmers
to save seed; however, BARI discourages seed
saving because of potential out-crossing, which
would reduce the purity of the seed). BARI con-
ducted conned eld trials that demonstrated
the Bt varieties provided excellent control of
EFSB compared to non-Bt isolines (same variety
but without the Bt gene) (Fig. 4). Results from
trials conducted in Bangladesh were used to de-
velop the regulatory dossier that was submitted
to Bangladeshi authorities for cultivation (see
below).
The ABSPII project ended in 2014. A new
3-year cooperative agreement was awarded in
2015 under the USAID-funded Feed the Future
South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership
(bteggplant.cornell.edu). The main objectives
were to scale up the improved Bt eggplant to
Bangladeshi farmers, provide capacity building
within the Bangladesh agricultural institutions,
and work with the University of the Philippines-
Los Baños to develop, submit, and shepherd a
regulatory dossier for the Philippines that meets
international standards. This article only focuses
on Bangladesh.
THE INDIAN SITUATION
Much of the early ABSPII work on Bt eggplant
was centered in India, a country that produces
nearly 25% of the worlds eggplants, grown
mostly by smallholder farmers on a total of 1.3
million acres but with relatively low production
because of infestation by EFSB (Krishna and
Qaim 2007). Beginning in 2004, Bt hybrids
were tested in several states of India and per-
formed well, leading Krishna and Qaim (2007)
to write several Bt hybrids have been tested in
the eld and are likely to be commercialized in
the near future.Unlike OP lines, hybrids do not
breed true the following year so new seed must
be obtained yearly. However, farmers generally
prefer hybrids because of their enhanced yield
and quality.
After extensive eld trials and safety evalua-
tions by Indian regulatory bodies, Bt eggplant
was ready to be commercialized in India.
However, antibiotech organizations, primarily
Greenpeace, had a different plan and for years
fought against Bt eggplant in courts of law and
in the court of public opinion. Greenpeace, the
worlds largest environmentalorganization,
uses its considerable resources and inuence to
advocate for a zero-tolerance for GM crops
(Davidson 2008; Shelton 2015) (www.activistfacts
BA
Figure 4. Comparison of Uttara brinjal variety showing injury by (A) the eggplant fruit and shoot borer to non-Bt
brinjal, and (B) lack of injury in Bt brinjal. (Photograph provided by M.J. Hossain, Feed the Future South Asia
Eggplant Improvement Partnership.)
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh
Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678 5
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
.com/organizations/131-greenpeace). Greenpeace
spent millions to prevent Bt eggplant from com-
ing to market in India, with a large amount used
in legal costs (Shelton 2010). As a result, largely
of antibiotech activistsefforts, the Indian Min-
ister of the Environment and Forests, the last
gatekeeperbefore Bt eggplant would be com-
mercialized, decided to impose a moratorium on
Bt eggplant on February 9, 2010, which remains
today (Shelton 2010). Indias neighbor, Bangla-
desh, which also produces eggplant, decided to
move forward.
Bt EGGPLANT BECOMES A REALITY
IN BANGLADESH
After successfully breeding EE-1 into nine local
OP varieties, BARI applied to the National
Technical Committee on Crop Biotechnology
(NTCCB) for their release. Following the recom-
mendation from the NTCCB, the application for
release was forwarded to the National Commit-
tee on BioSafety. The Bangladesh government
granted approval for release of four lines on Oc-
tober 30, 2013 (Fig. 5). On January 22, 2014, Bt
eggplant seedlings were distributed to 20 farm-
ers in four districts, making Bangladesh the rst
developing country to allow the commercial cul-
tivation of a GE vegetable crop (Mondal 2018).
Bt brinjal was made available to growers for
demonstration trials. In 20142015, BARI pro-
vided seeds or transplants to its On-Farm
Research Division) to conduct research/demon-
stration trials on 108 farmer elds in 19 districts.
In 20152016 and 20162017, demonstration
trials were conducted in 250 farmer elds in 25
districts and 512 farmer elds in 36 districts,
respectively. In 20172018, BARI provided seeds
to 569 farmers in 40 districts. In addition to dis-
tribution by BARI, seeds were distributed to
farmers through the Department of Agricultural
Extension (DAE) to 6000 and 7001 farmers in
20162017 and 20172018, respectively, and for
sale through the Bangladesh Agricultural Devel-
opment Corporation (BADC) to an additional
17,950 farmers in 2018, making a total of 27,012
farmers in 2018 (Mondal 2018; Shelton et al.
2018). Fruit from these elds was sold in the
market and readily purchased by consumers. Be-
cause the four lines are OP varieties, farmers can
keep their seed (or give or sell it to others) so the
actual number of farmers growing Bt brinjal is
likely much higher than the statistics reported
above.
The initial application for Bt brinjal includ-
ed nine varieties that would accommodate re-
gional preferences, but only four were approved
in 2013. There are continuing efforts to release
other varieties, especially ones that are resistant
to bacterial wilt, a severe disease in Bangladesh.
CONTROL OF EFSB AND EFFECTS
ON NONTARGET ARTHROPODS
IN BANGLADESH
A 2-year experiment (20162017) conducted by
BARI scientists compared the four Bt varieties to
their isolines (same variety but without the Bt
gene) with and without insecticide treatments
(Prodhan et al. 2018). Results indicated that
BARI Bt begun-1 BARI Bt begun-2 BARI Bt begun-3 BARI Bt begun-4
Figure 5. Four Bt brinjal lines currently commercialized in Bangladesh. (Photograph provided by M.J. Hossain,
Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership.)
A.M. Shelton et al.
6Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
the four Bt varieties had increased fruit produc-
tion and minimal EFSB fruit infestation com-
pared with their respective non-Bt isolines. Fruit
infestation for Bt varieties varied from 0% to
2.27% in 2016, 0% in 2017, and was not signi-
cantly affected by the spray regime in either year.
In contrast, fruit infestation in non-Bt lines
reached 36.70% in 2016 and 45.51% in 2017,
even with weekly spraying. It should also be
noted that when a Bt fruit was classied as being
infested, only a supercial blemish was seen and
no live larvae were present.
Statistically similar densities of nontarget ar-
thropods, including benecial arthropods, were
generally observed in both Bt and non-Bt vari-
eties. An additional trial that focused on a single
Bt variety and its isoline provided similar results
on infestation levels, with and without sprays,
and showed no signicant effects on nontarget
arthropods. These results are similar to studies
conducted in the Philippines that demonstrated
excellent control of EFSB (Hautea et al. 2016)
and lack of effect on nontarget organisms (Na-
vasero et al. 2016).
ECONOMICS AND INSECTICIDE PATTERNS
WHEN USING Bt BRINJAL
In an ex ante (before the event) study on adop-
tion of Bt eggplant in Bangladesh (Islam and
Norton 2007), it was estimated that adoption
of Bt eggplant would reduce insecticide use by
80% and increase the gross prot margin by
nearly 45%. Because Bt eggplant has been com-
mercialized, these predictions can be compared
to actual results. In a study conducted by BARI,
scientists in 35 districts during the 20162017
cropping season using 505 Bt brinjal farmers
and 350 non-Bt brinjal farmers, net returns
per hectare were $2151/ha for Bt brinjal as com-
pared to $357/ha for non-Bt brinjal, a sixfold
difference (Rashid et al. 2018). This study also
indicated that farmers saved 61% of the pesticide
cost compared to non-Bt brinjal farmers and
experienced no losses because of EFSB. It is like-
ly that pesticide reduction could be reduced
further once farmers have more experience con-
trolling EFSB with Bt eggplant, and thus eco-
nomic returns would be even higher.
In the 2-year study conducted by Prodhan
et al. (2018), an economic analysis revealed that
all Bt lines had higher gross returns than their
non-Bt isolines. The nonsprayed, non-Bt iso-
lines resulted in negative returns in most cases.
Maximum fruit yield was obtained from sprayed
plots compared to nonsprayed plots, indicating
that other insects such as whiteies, thrips, and
mites (these arthropods are not affected by
Cry1Ac) can reduce plant vigor and subsequent
fruit weight. Efforts are now underway to de-
velop treatment guidelines for the complex of
sucking insectsthat can reduce plant vigor.
SUSTAINING THE TECHNOLOGY
The long-term success of Bt brinjal in Bangla-
desh depends on many biological and adminis-
trative factors. Farmers depend on high quality
seed so a major effort in the project has been to
build capacity within BARI to ensure that quality
seedgenetic purity, high viability, and expres-
sion of Cry1Acis produced in adequate
amounts to meet grower demand. To accomplish
this, the project has undertaken capacity build-
ing efforts to train BARI scientists following the
model of Excellence Through Stewardship,a
life-cycle approach to GE product management
(www.excellencethroughstewardship.org).
Likewise, farmers are being trained on the
unique aspects of Bt brinjal, mainly the require-
ments to plant a refuge of non-Bt brinjal as bor-
der rows and the need to manage other sucking
insects.A refuge is required as a strategy to
delay the evolution of resistance by EFSB to
the Cry1Ac protein (Bates et al. 2005). Research
has demonstrated that utilizing a refuge is vital
for ensuring the durability of Bt technology
(Tang et al. 2001). Therefore, monitoring farmer
adoption of and compliance with refuge-plant-
ing strategies is essential. Monitoring compli-
ance of farmers who save or distribute their
saved seed is even more challenging. Recent
reports have highlighted the difculty in moni-
toring the planting of refuges in developing
countries (India and Brazil) compared to Aus-
tralia and the United States (Carrière et al. 2019).
An alternative to planting separate refuges is to
mix Bt seeds with a proportion of non-Bt seeds
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh
Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678 7
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
in the same bag sold to growers, a strategy called
refuge in the bag(RIB). While the RIB strategy
essentially forces farmers to plant a refuge, it is
most suitable for insects that have limited move-
ment between plants in the larval stage (Tang
et al. 2001). Additional research is needed to
determine whether the RIB strategy will be suit-
able for EFSB.
There is general agreement (Bates et al.
2005) and experimental evidence (Zhao et al.
2003) that plants expressing multiple Bt proteins
will be more durable for control of an insect pest.
Thus, efforts should be focused on introducing
eggplant varieties with multiple Bt genes, as
soon as possible. Mahyco has developed a two-
gene Bt event and there are discussions under-
way about having access to it. Meanwhile, stud-
ies have been completed to assess the baseline
susceptibility of populations of EFSB to the
Cry1Ac expressed in Bt eggplants, so any
changes in susceptibility over time can be deter-
mined, and appropriate measures taken. It
should also be noted that the four Bt varieties
currently used are not suitable for the summer
season, a time when populations of EFSB are at
their highest. Fortuitously, this Bt crop-free pe-
riod acts as another component of a resistance
management strategy. Other management strat-
egies that are compatible with Bt plants are being
considered, including removing infested plants,
using pheromone disruption, enhancing biolog-
ical control, and using more selective insecti-
cides. However, farmers are typically less willing
to adopt such practices because of their in-
creased labor and costs, compared to using Bt
plants (Shelton 2007).
COMMUNICATING ABOUT Bt BRINJAL
Although the BARI-USAID-Cornell-Sathguru
project focuses on Bt brinjal, it serves a larger
role because it is the rst GE food crop to be
released and widely adopted by farmers and
consumers in a developing country. Thus, it
has been in the spotlight globally for the last
5 years. This project includes communication
efforts that focus on two major activities: (1)
improved information sharing internally and
externally to promote science-based public
awareness of GE crops; and (2) support commu-
nications, outreach, and knowledge sharing by
farmers, extension personnel, community or-
ganizations, and communication practitioners.
An important communication avenue is
the projects website (Bteggplant.cornell.edu),
which serves as the face of the project. This site
is actively maintained and contains print and
audiovisual materials for information sharing
and awareness building. The project has devel-
oped a strong social media presence on twitter
(@Bt_eggplant) and through various blogs. Cur-
rently, more than 4500 people follow posts and
updates through the Cornell Alliance for Sci-
ence. Factual news from national and interna-
tional articles are shared and comments and
feedback are monitored and responded to
when suitable. The website also contains several
videos, including two produced by BARI, high-
lighting the success of Bt brinjal in the eld and
endorsement by local farmers.
The project also works closely with the Cor-
nell Alliance for Science (allianceforscience
.cornell.edu), which provides factual informa-
tion about agricultural biotechnology. The Alli-
ance has enhanced capacity in social media that
benets the project in the short and long term.
The Alliance is leading efforts to expand biotech-
nology communication activities in Bangladesh
to include other GE crops, for example, late-
blight-resistant potatoes and nutritionally en-
hanced rice. A new comprehensive communica-
tion initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates
FoundationFarming Future Bangladeshhas
been formed to create an empowered communi-
ty of advocates to develop a sustainable enabling
environment for biotechnology in Bangladesh.
WHY IS THE BANGLADESH Bt EGGPLANT
PROJECT SUCCEEDING?
ABSPII was essential to the success of the Ban-
gladesh Bt eggplant project because it identied
a strong need for the project, was well-supported
nancially and programmatically by USAID,
utilized effective partners in India (Sathguru),
Bangladesh (BARI), and the United States (Cor-
nell), and had the good fortune to have event
EE-1 generously donated by Mahyco. When
A.M. Shelton et al.
8Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
ABSPII ended, the project continued with sup-
port from USAIDs Feed the Future program
started in 2015. In addition to these enabling
factors, it is essential to acknowledge that the
project has received political support from key
Bangladeshi people since its inception. In con-
trast to India where the project stopped because
of political pressure from well-funded groups
opposed to biotechnology, Bangladesh received
strong support from the Bangladeshi Govern-
ment, especially Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
and the Honorable Agriculture Minister Begum
Matia Chowdhury, MP. Chowdhurys words
from a Bt brinjal workshop held in March
2017 in Bangladesh made the governments po-
sition clear:
Development of brinjal fruit and shoot insect
resistant-Bt brinjal is a success story of local
and foreign collaboration. We will be guided by
the science-based information, not by the non-
scientic whispering of a section of people. Good
science will move on its own course keeping the
anti-science people down. As human beings, it is
our moral obligation that all people in our coun-
try should get food and not go to bed on an empty
stomach. Biotechnology can play an important
role in this effort.
In January 2019, Begum Matia Chowdhury
was replaced as the Agriculture Minister by Dr.
M. Abdul Razzaque, a well-respected agricultur-
al scientist. At the time this article was written,
efforts are underway to brief Dr. Razzaque in
more detail on the project and advocate for his
support.
SECURING THE FUTURE OF Bt BRINJAL
IN BANGLADESH
The benets of Bt brinjal are clear: increased
yield and economic return to farmers, decreased
risk to humans and the environment, and sus-
tainable production. Farmers are pleased with
the performance of Bt brinjal (Fig. 6). The ex-
periences by farmers who have used Bt brinjal
have led to an increased demand for the seed,
not only for the four current Bt lines but also for
additional Bt lines that would be suitable to oth-
er regions or markets in Bangladesh. The ques-
tion is whether the demand can be met by the
current system in which BARI is the sole
producer of Bt brinjal breeder seed, and BADC
increases the seed and sells it through their tra-
ditional channels. So far, the private sector has
not been allowed to produce Bt brinjal for dis-
tribution in Bangladesh, although the lines
grown originated from the private sectors(Ma-
hyco) donated event, EE-1. The government ac-
knowledges that the private sector should be a
player in the future but has been hesitant to
allow them to produce Bt brinjal for the time
Figure 6. Bangladeshi Bt brinjal farmer, Shahajahan Ali, with harvested Bt brinjal. (Photograph from the personal
collection of Md. Arif Hossain.)
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh
Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678 9
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
being. Meanwhile, there are ongoing discussions
about allowing the private sector to complement
the existing efforts of the government by pro-
ducing their own hybrids.
In all but a few instances (e.g., virus-resistant
papaya), it has been the private sector that spent
the effort and considerable resources needed to
develop a transformed line (event), spent
millions on the regulatory process to have it ap-
proved, developed varieties suitable for the loca-
tion, distributed seeds to farmers, and provided
stewardship practices (e.g., technology and com-
munication) to enhance the products future.
Bangladesh has had considerable assistance
from the outside (Mahyco, Cornell, USAID) to
get to the point where more than 27,000 rural
farmers are producing Bt brinjal and selling it in
the local markets or to brokers who distribute to
urban consumers.
Continued funding from the outside is un-
certain so the Bangladesh government will have
to take more responsibility for the future of Bt
brinjal. Our project has focused on capacity
building to help Bangladesh take on the various
tasks needed for successful seed production,
distribution, cultivation, adoption, and refuge-
monitoring of Bt brinjal. At the same time, we
are promoting conversations between the Ban-
gladeshi Government and the private sector to
help coordinate the various activities needed.
There are certainly challenges ahead for the
continued success of Bt brinjal in Bangladesh.
However, these challenges can be met with a
detailed strategic plan that ensures cooperation
of Bangladeshi agencies and adequate resources
for Bt brinjal. Such planning will also reap ben-
ets as other biotech crops are being developed
in Bangladesh for the future. The private seed
sector should play a critical role in such plans.
THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR
IN BANGLADESH
The seed sector in Bangladesh is changing.
Though most plant breeding in Bangladesh con-
tinues to be in the public domain, private com-
panies are becoming increasingly involved in
plant breeding in response to the growing de-
mand from farmers for good-quality and better-
performing varieties. Major, private-sector seed
companies in Bangladesh include Supreme
seeds, Lal Teer seeds, ACI seeds, GETCO, and
others, and NGO-operated seed enterprises, in-
cluding the Bangladesh Rural Advancement
Committee (BRAC), PROSHIKA, Grameen
Krishi Foundation, Rangpur Dinajpur Rural
Service (RDRS), and others. These players are
involved in trials of imported varieties of vege-
tables and potatoes, development of improved
varieties of indigenous vegetables through selec-
tion and screening, development of hybrid veg-
etables and maize, and seed production and
marketing. They also produce hybrid seeds of
rice and maize using imported parent lines.
The private sector contributes in technology dis-
semination and the education of farmers and
traders throughout the country. They have built
strong marketing networks throughout the
country. Private seed companies play major
roles in importing rice hybrids, seed potatoes,
jute seeds, maize hybrids, and winter vegetable
seeds where the public sector is generally inac-
tive as a matter of policy.
Currently, in the private sector there are
more than 300 companies along with over
22,000 registered seed dealers operating across
Bangladesh. They have a strong seed marketing
network throughout the country and strong
commitment to enhance their involvement in
this sector. Moreover, the growing engagements
of the private sector seed companies have result-
ed in the engagement of thousands of contract
farmers in the formal seed production chain,
leading to improved livelihoods for rural com-
munities. USAID strongly believes in the impor-
tance of the private sector becoming more in-
volved in Bt brinjal seed production. The Seed
Wing of the Ministry of Agriculture and several
donor-assisted projects have been acting as cat-
alysts for building the capacity of the private
sector to play a greater role and take responsi-
bility for achieving the seed policy goal of mak-
ing quality seed available in timely ways to the
farmers of Bangladesh in cost-effective ways.
The private sector has been provided with ade-
quate representation in all bodies established by
the government for administering the seed in-
dustry where the public/private/NGO sectors
A.M. Shelton et al.
10 Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
can discuss issues for the balanced and sustain-
able growth of the seed sector.
With diminished resources available in the
public sector over the last three decades, the
private seed sector in Bangladesh has shown
signicant development and expansion. Achiev-
ing an ideal partitioning of seed sector roles
among private and public sectors under Bangla-
desh agro-socio-economic conditions is not
easy given that the buying capacity of the farm-
ers is limited and the governments food security
goals entail availability of quality seed at an af-
fordable price. However, nding a balance will
ensure that safe and effective GE technologies
will reach resource-poor farmers in Bangladesh.
REPLICATING THE BANGLADESHI PROJECT
The results seen in Bangladesh demonstrate that
Bt eggplant will result in economic benets for
farmers and dramatically reduce health risks to
humans and the environment. Can this success
be replicated in other Asian countries where
EFSB ravages eggplants, especially in elds
grown by resource-poor farmers? Certainly,
GE technology is available but it was available
in India before it was commercialized in Bangla-
desh. History has shown that these two neigh-
boring countries approached Bt eggplant differ-
ently, with Bangladeshi leaders displaying the
courage to move forward based on the clear
need to help farmers reduce applications of
chemical sprays. In contrast, in spite of the sim-
ilar needs of farmers in India and the recom-
mendations of Indian scientists and regulators
that Bt brinjal is safe and effective, the Indian
Minister of the Environment and Forests im-
posed a moratorium on commercialization of
Bt eggplant that remains today (Shelton 2010).
It appears that the Indian minister based his
decision not on science or farmersneed but
instead on political pressure from groups against
GE crops. The consequence is that farmers in
India continue to rely on chemical-based insec-
ticide management practices to reduce damage
by EFSB. Yet such a strategy is often ineffective,
whereas Bt brinjal provides excellent control
with minimal need for sprays for other pests
(Prodhan et al. 2018).
In India, the intense use of pesticides on
vegetables and other crops causes severe hazards
to farmers, consumers, and the environment
(Grewal et al. 2017), but alternatives are avail-
able. Bt cotton became available in India in 2002
and remains the only GM product available to
Indian farmers. Use of Bt cotton over a 10-year
period resulted in farmers reducing their pesti-
cide use by at least 50% with the largest reduc-
tions of 70% occurring with the most toxic types
of chemicals (Kouser and Qaim 2011). This
helped avoid at least 2.4 million cases of pesti-
cide poisoning, saving at least US$14 million in
annual benet costs. Could the same types of
benets occur in India if it were allowed to be
grown in India, as it presently is in Bangladesh?
Time will tell whether Bt eggplant and other
useful products of biotechnology will become
available to benet farmers, consumers, and
the environment in other countries, or will
fear and misinformation impede their develop-
ment and use? For the time being, Bt eggplant in
Bangladesh serves as a celebrated example of the
successes that can be achieved.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The success of this project is the result of many
organizations and people, including the Maha-
rashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) that
created the Bt eggplant eventand incorporat-
ed it into varieties used in Bangladesh, and who
continue to provide important advice for the
project; the vision and support of the Govern-
ment of Bangladesh; the Bangladesh Agricultur-
al Research Institute (BARI) and its associated
agencies, including the Department of Agricul-
tural Extension (DAE) and the Bangladesh Ag-
ricultural Development Corporation (BADC);
funding and advice provided by the United
States Agency for International Development
(USAID); personnel in Cornells College of Ag-
riculture and Life Sciences International Pro-
grams (CALS-IP) who managed the Agricultur-
al Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII)
and now manage the Feed the Future South
Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership; Sath-
guru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd.; and
the Cornell Alliance for Science. Without these
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh
Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678 11
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
partners, the project would not have been able to
have the impact it has had.
REFERENCES
Ali MI, Ali MS, Rahman MS. 1980. Field evaluation of wilt
disease and shoot and fruit borer attack of different cul-
tivars of brinjal. Bangladesh J Agric Sci 7: 193194.
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. 2018. Yearbook of Agricul-
tural Statistics-2017, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
(BBS) Statistics and Informatics Division (SID) Ministry
of Planning Government of the Peoples Republic of Ban-
gladesh. www.bbs.gov.bd
Bates SL, Zhao JZ, Roush RT, Shelton AM. 2005. Insect
resistance management in GM crops: Past, present and
future. Nat Biotechnol 23: 5762. doi:10.1038/nbt1056
Brookes G, Barfoot P. 2017. GM crops: Global socio-economic
and environmental impacts 19962015. PG Economics
Ltd., Dorchester, UK.
Carrière Y, Brown ZS, Downes SJ, Gujar G, Epstein G,
Omoto C, Storer NP, Mota-Sanchez D, Jorgensen PS,
Carroll SP. 2019. Governing evolution: A socioecological
comparison of resistance management for insecticidal
transgenic Bt crops among countries. Ambio doi:10
.1007/s13280-019-01167-0
Davidson S. 2008. Forbidden fruit: Transgenic papaya in
Thailand. Plant Physiol 147: 487493. doi:10.1104/pp
.108.116913
Del Prado-Lu J. 2015. Insecticide residues in soil, water, and
eggplant fruits and farmershealth effects due to exposure
to pesticides. Environ Health Prev Med 20: 5362. doi:10
.1007/s12199-014-0425-3
Fischhoff DA, Bowdishi KS, Perlak FJ, Marrone PG, McCor-
mick SM, Niedermeyer JG, Dean DA, Kusano-Kretzmer
K, Mayer EJ, Rochester DE, et al. 1987. Insect tolerant
transgenic tomato plants. Nat Biotechnol 5: 807813.
doi:10.1038/nbt0887-807
Grewal AS, Singlal A, Kamboj P, Dua JS. 2017. Pesticide
residues in food grains, vegetables and fruits: A hazard
to human health. J Med Chem Toxicol 2: 4046. doi:10
.15436/2575-808x.17.1355
Hautea DM, Taylor LD, Masanga APL, Sison MLJ, Narciso
JO, Quilloy RB, Hautea RA, Shotkoski FA, Shelton AM.
2016. Field performance of Bt eggplants (Solanum melon-
gena L.) in the Philippines: Cry1Ac expression and con-
trol of the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (Leucinodes
orbonalis Guenée). PLoS ONE 11: e0157498. doi:10
.1371/journal.pone.0157498
Heckel D. 2012. Learning the ABCs of Bt: ABC transporters
and insect resistanceto Bacillus thuringiensis provide clues
to a crucial step in toxin mode of action. Pestic Biochem
Physiol 104: 103110. doi:10.1016/j.pestbp.2012.05.007
ILSI CERA. 2010. A review of the environmental safety of the
Cry1Ac protein. ILSI CERA, Washington, DC.
Islam SMF, Norton GW. 2007. Bt eggplant for fruit and
shoot borer resistance in Bangladesh. In Economic and
environmental benets and costs of transgenic crops: Ex-
ante assessment (ed. Ramasamy C, Selvaraj KN, Norton
GW, Vijayaraghavan K), pp. 91106. Tamil Nadu Agri-
cultural University, Coimbatore, India.
James C. 2000. Global status of commercialized transgenic
crops: 2000. ISAAA Briefs, No. 21. ISAAA, Ithaca, NY.
James C. 2018. Global status of commercialized biotech/GM
crops: 2017. ISAAA Briefs, No. 53. ISAAA, Ithaca, NY.
Kennedy GG. 2008. Integration of insect-resistant genetical-
ly modied crops within IPM programs. In Integration of
insect-resistant genetically modied crops within IPM pro-
grams (ed. Romeis J, Shelton A, Kennedy G), pp. 126.
Springer Science+Business Media, New York.
Kouser S, Qaim M. 2011. Impact of Bt cotton on pesticide
poisoning in smallholder agriculture: A panel data anal-
ysis. Ecol Econ 70: 21052113. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon
.2011.06.008
Krishna VV, Qaim M. 2007. Potential socieoeconomic
impacts of Bt eggplant in India. In Economic and envi-
ronmental benets and costs of transgenic crops: Ex-ante
assessment (ed. Ramasamy C, et al.), pp. 5771. Tamil
Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India.
Mondal MRI. 2018. Success on Bt brinjal in Bangladesh.
Asia-Pacic Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology
and Bioresources Asia-Pacic Association of Agricultural
Research Institutions. Bangkok, Thailand.
Naranjo SE, Ellsworth PC. 2009. Fifty years of theintegrated
control concept: Moving the model and implementation
forward in Arizona. Pest Manag Sci 65: 12671286. doi:10
.1002/ps.1861
Navasero MV, Candano RN, Hautea D, Hautea RA, Shot-
koski FA, Shelton AM. 2016. Assessing potential impact
of Bt eggplants on non-target arthropods in the Philip-
pines. PLoS ONE 11: e0165190. doi:10.1371/journal.pone
.165190
Prodhan MZH, Hasan MT, Chowdhury MMI, Alam MS,
Rahman ML, Azad AK, Hossain MJ, Naranjo SE, Shelton
AM. 2018. Bt Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) in Ban-
gladesh: Fruit production and control of eggplant fruit
and shoot borer (Leucinodes orbonalis Guenee), effects
on non-target arthropods and economic returns. PLoS
ONE 13: e0205713. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205713
Rashid MA, Hasan MK, Matin MA. 2018. Socio-economic
performance of Bt eggplant cultivation in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh J Agric Res 43: 187203. doi:10.3329/bjar
.v43i2.37313
Romeis J, Shelton AM, Kennedy GG. 2008. Integration of
insect-resistant genetically modied crops within IPM pro-
grams, 441 pp. Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands.
Romeis J, Naranjo SE, Meissle M, Shelton AM. 2019. Genet-
ically engineered crops help support conservation biolog-
ical control. Biol Control 130: 136154. doi:10.1016/j
.biocontrol.2018.10.001
Shelton AM. 2007. Considerations on the use of transgenic
crops for insect control. J Dev Stud 43: 890900. doi:10
.1080/00220380701384562
Shelton AM. 2010. The long road to commercialization of Bt
brinjal (eggplant) in India. Crop Prot 29: 412414. doi:10
.1016/j.cropro.2010.02.016
Shelton AM. 2012. Genetically engineered vegetables ex-
pressing proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis for insect
resistance: Successes, disappointments, challenges and
ways to move forward. GM Crops Food 3: 175183.
doi:10.4161/gmcr.19762
A.M. Shelton et al.
12 Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
Shelton AM. 2015. Tragic papaya: 12-part series.
anthonymshelton.com/tragicpapaya
Shelton AM, Zhao JZ, Roush RT. 2002. Economic, ecologi-
cal, food safety and social consequences of the deploy-
ment of Bt transgenic plants. Annu Rev Entomol 47: 845
881. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.47.091201.145309
Shelton AM, Olmstead DL, Burkness EC, Hutchison WD,
Dively G, Welty C, Sparks AN. 2013. Multi-state trials of
Bt sweet corn varieties for control of the corn earworm
(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). J Econ Entomol 106: 2151
2159. doi:10.1603/EC13146
Shelton AM, Hokanson KE, Hautea DM, Hossain MJ, Hos-
sain MA, Paranjape V, Hautea RA, McCandless L, Sarwer
SH. 2017. Bt eggplant: A genetically engineered minor
crop comes of age in Bangladesh and the Philippines. ISB
News Report, August.
Shelton AM, Hossain MJ, Paranjape V, Azad AK, Raham
ML, Khan ASMMR, Prodhan MZH, Rashid MA, Ma-
jumder R, Hossain MA, et al. 2018. Bt eggplant project
in Bangladesh: History, present status, and future direc-
tion. Front Bioeng Biotechnol 6: 106. doi:10.3389/fbioe
.2018.00106
Shirale D, Patil M, Parimi S. 2017. Insecticide resistance in
eld populations of Leucinodes orbonalis (Lepidoptera:
Crambidae) in India. Can Entomol 149: 399407.
doi:10.4039/tce.2017.3
Smith CM, Clement SL. 2012. Molecular bases of plant
resistance to arthropods. Annu Rev Entomol 57: 309
328.
Stern V, Smith R, Van den Bosch R, Hagen K. 1959. The
integration of chemical and biological control of the spot-
ted alfalfa aphid: The integrated control concept. Hilgar-
dia 29: 81101. doi:10.3733/hilg.v29n02p081
Tang JD, Collins HL, Metz TD, Earle ED, ZhaoJ, Roush RT,
Shelton AM. 2001. Greenhouse tests on resistance man-
agement of Bt transgenic plants using refuge strategies. J
Econ Entomol 94: 240247. doi:10.1603/0022-0493-94.1
.240
Zhao J, Cao J, Li Y, Collins HL, Roush RT, Earle ED, Shelton
AM. 2003. Plants expressing two Bacillus thuringiensis
toxins delay insect resistance compared to single toxins
used sequentially or in a mosaic. Nat Biotechnol 21: 1493
1497. doi:10.1038/nbt907
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh
Advanced Online Article. Cite this article as Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034678 13
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
published online June 10, 2019Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol
Majumder, Sayed H. Sarwer and Md. A. Hossain
Anthony M. Shelton, Md. J. Hossain, Vijay Paranjape, Md. Z.H. Prodhan, Abul K. Azad, Rituparna
in a Developing Country
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh: The First Genetically Engineered Food Crop
Subject Collection Engineering Plants for Agriculture
Engineered Food Crop in a Developing Country
Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh: The First Genetically
Paranjape, et al.
Anthony M. Shelton, Md. J. Hossain, Vijay
Rice: Engineering Rice for Climate ChangeSub1
Kyle Emerick and Pamela C. Ronald
Engineering Disease-Resistant Cassava
Z.J. Daniel Lin, Nigel J. Taylor and Rebecca Bart Acquisition
Mechanisms and Impact of Symbiotic Phosphate
Chai Hao Chiu and Uta Paszkowski
Many Facets of Dynamic Plasticity in Plants
Xiaodong Yang and Sally A. Mackenzie Circadian Rhythms in Plants
Nicky Creux and Stacey Harmer
Trees
Developing Blight-Tolerant American Chestnut
Vernon Coffey
William A. Powell, Andrew E. Newhouse and Deficiencies in Plants?
How Do Strigolactones Ameliorate Nutrient
Kaori Yoneyama
Agricultural Improvement
Stomatal Development and Perspectives toward
Hitoshi Endo and Keiko U. Torii
http://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/cgi/collection/ For additional articles in this collection, see
Copyright © 2019 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved
Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
at CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on June 12, 2019 - Published by Coldhttp://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/Downloaded from
... These four Bt varieties are open-pollinated, which allows farmers to save seed for re-use. However, farmers are discouraged from using saved seed for multiple seasons because of potential outcrossing to other varieties, especially to non-Bt brinjal that are used in border rows as part of a refuge in a resistance management strategy (Shelton et al., 2019). After approval, the government supplied Bt brinjal seedlings to 20 selected farmers in four districts for cultivation in 2014, entrusting BARI personnel to provide training, guidance, and supervision on crop management to farmers. ...
Article
Full-text available
Eggplant (brinjal) is a popular vegetable that provides an important source of income for small, resource-poor Bangladeshi farmers. The biggest constraint to brinjal production is the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB). This study was conducted in 2019 in five districts in Bangladesh and examined the impacts of using genetically engineered, insect-resistant brinjal (Bt brinjal) on its value and marketing. Based on a survey of Bt and non-Bt farmers, results indicate that Bt brinjal provided an average of 19.6% higher yield and 21.7% higher revenue compared to non-Bt varieties. On a per tonne basis, the revenue benefit of using Bt brinjal was 1.7%, reflecting different levels of acceptability among trade buyers and consumers. Some were prepared to pay higher prices for Bt brinjal compared to non-Bt brinjal because the fruit was less damaged, while others paid a price discount because the Bt brinjal was not available in preferred local varieties. Labor use, expressed in 8-h days, for harvesting, grading, and packaging of Bt brinjal was 14% higher for Bt brinjal, reflecting the increased yields of Bt brinjal. 83.1% of Bt brinjal growers were satisfied with the yields obtained, and 80.6% were satisfied with the quality of fruit. This contrasts with non-Bt brinjal growers where 58.7% were satisfied with their yields and 28% indicated that a large portion of their fruit was infested, not a concern for Bt brinjal. Three-quarters of Bt brinjal growers planned to plant Bt brinjal next season because of the apparent benefits achieved of higher yields, revenue and fruit quality. Many also highlighted the benefits of reduced insecticides. Of the non-Bt growers, 39.6% had not heard of Bt brinjal. However, after hearing more about the impact of the technology, 71.4% of them indicated they planned to grow Bt brinjal next season. These findings suggest there are significant benefits of Bt brinjal and highlight the importance of making the technology available in more varieties that are suitable to local conditions and consumer preferences. Additional studies are warranted to corroborate these findings and explore in more detail the factors influencing decisions made by farmers and consumers regarding Bt brinjal.
... High investment costs and regulatory issues appear to have been a factor in limiting transgenic applications to two main traits, herbicide tolerance and Bt pest resistance, and initially only in major arable crops. However, more recently, applications have been brought on the market in smaller crops, such as a Bt vegetable crop, eggplant (brinjal) in Asia (Shelton et al., 2019). In the case of Bt brinjal, the technology was donated to a public-private partnership with the Indian company Mahyco under a USAID programme (Choudhary et al., 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss whether genetic engineering and agroecology are compatible. For this, we investigated three cases of genetically engineered crops and considered agroecology as scientific discipline as well as a social movement. One case was the use of cisgenic modifications to make potato durably resistant to late blight, the second was the use of CRISPR/Cas to make rice resistant to bacterial blight and as a third case, we evaluated experiences with cultivating transgenic Bt crops. These cases demonstrated that genetic engineering offers opportunities to grow crops in novel integrated pest management (IPM) systems with, as direct benefit, a decrease in the use of chemical crop protection agents, and as indirect effect that the role of predators and biological control agents can become more important than in present conventional systems based on pesticides. We used a framework based on four concerns (both cons and pros) that were gathered from an extensive societal interaction organized around the Dutch research project DuRPh, which produced a proof-of-concept of a cisgenic late blight-resistant potato. We concluded that genetic engineering and agroecology certainly have synergy in the context of agroecology as science, when applied to making crops less vulnerable to pests and diseases and when combined with cultivation using IPM. By contrast, within the movement context, genetically engineered varieties may be welcomed if they include traits that contribute to successful IPM schemes and are socially benign. Whether they would actually be deemed desirable or acceptable will, however, vary depending on the norms and values of the social movements. We propose that some concerns may be reconcilable in a dialogue. Deontological arguments such as naturalness are more difficult to reconcile, as they relate to deeply felt ethical or cultural values. A step forward would be when also for these arguments everyone can make an informed choice and when these choices can coexist in a respectful manner.
Article
Agricultural biotechnology is enhancing agricultural productivity, food security, and livelihoods globally. Some developing countries have established functional biosafety regulatory systems and have commercialized genetically modified (GM) crops. Release of GM crops requires enhanced capacity for regulatory compliance and product stewardship to help ensure sustainable use of biotechnology products. We conducted a survey of 66 stakeholders, mostly from Africa and Asia, in two-week international agricultural biotechnology short courses. Respondents showed knowledge of biotechnology benefits and expressed potential barriers to commercialization. They identified 16 crops in the “pipeline for commercialization.” Stakeholders also shared ideas about how to build capacity for product stewardship. Product stewardship is a concept which requires each person in the product life cycle – innovators, scientists, and technology users, to share responsibility. This paper focuses on adoption of product stewardship for post-release management of GM crops which encompasses trait performance, resistance management, integrated pest management (IPM), good agricultural practices, high-quality seeds and planting material, intellectual property management, labeling, identity preservation, consumer acceptance, and effective marketing.
Article
The global population continues to rise, as does the likelihood of reduced yields of major food crops due to the changing climate, thus making the development of genetically improved, stress-resilient crops a research priority. The convergence of low-cost genome sequencing with improved computational power and high-throughput molecular phenotyping technologies has accelerated the identification of genes underlying important agronomic traits relevant to food production and quality. Here, we discuss the evolution of plant improvement, and how researchers leverage genomic analyses and revolutionary new plant breeding technologies like site-directed nucleases to enhance food crop traits through agricultural biotechnology. Deployment of these products from the laboratory to the field remains hindered by biological and regulatory bottlenecks that require further development. Crop yield is stagnating in many parts of the world, and climate change threatens the worldwide agricultural system. This Review presents a comprehensive overview of current development leveraging genomic analyses and revolutionary new plant breeding technologies to enhance food crop traits through agricultural biotechnology.
Article
Full-text available
Cooperative management of pest susceptibility to transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops is pursued worldwide in a variety of forms and to varying degrees of success depending on context. We examine this context using a comparative socioecological analysis of resistance management in Australia, Brazil, India, and the United States. We find that a shared understanding of resistance risks among government regulators, growers, and other actors is critical for effective governance. Furthermore, monitoring of grower compliance with resistance management requirements, surveillance of resistance, and mechanisms to support rapid implementation of remedial actions are essential to achieve desirable outcomes. Mandated resistance management measures, strong coordination between actors, and direct linkages between the group that appraises resistance risks and growers also appear to enhance prospects for effective governance. Our analysis highlights factors that could improve current governance systems and inform other initiatives to conserve susceptibility as a contribution to the cause of public good.
Article
Full-text available
Eggplant or brinjal (Solanum melongena) is a popular vegetable grown throughout Asia where it is attacked by brinjal fruit and shoot borer (BFSB) (Leucinodes orbonalis). Yield losses in Bangladesh have been reported up to 86% and farmers rely primarily on frequent insecticide applications to reduce injury. Bangladesh has developed and released four brinjal varieties producing Cry1Ac (Bt brinjal) and is the first country to do so. We report on the first replicated field trials comparing four Bt brinjal varieties to their non-Bt isolines, with and without standard insecticide spray regimes. Results of the two-year study (2016–17) indicated Bt varieties had increased fruit production and minimal BFSB fruit infestation compared with their respective non-Bt isolines. Fruit infestation for Bt varieties varied from 0–2.27% in 2016, 0% in 2017, and was not significantly affected by the spray regime in either year. In contrast, fruit infestation in non-Bt lines reached 36.70% in 2016 and 45.51% in 2017, even with weekly spraying. An economic analysis revealed that all Bt lines had higher gross returns than their non-Bt isolines. The non-sprayed non-Bt isolines resulted in negative returns in most cases. Maximum fruit yield was obtained from sprayed plots compared to non-sprayed plots, indicating that other insects such as whiteflies, thrips and mites can reduce plant vigor and subsequent fruit weight. Statistically similar densities of non-target arthropods, including beneficial arthropods, were generally observed in both Bt and non-Bt varieties. An additional trial that focused on a single Bt variety and its isoline provided similar results on infestation levels, with and without sprays, and similarly demonstrated higher gross returns and no significant effects on non-target arthropods. Together, these studies indicate that the four Bt brinjal lines are extremely effective at controlling BFSB in Bangladesh without affecting other arthropods, and provide greater economic returns thantheir non-Bt isolines.
Article
Full-text available
Eggplant or brinjal (Solanum melongena) is a popular vegetable grown throughout Asia where it is attacked by brinjal fruit and shoot borer (BFSB) (Leucinodes orbonalis). Yield losses in Bangladesh have been reported up to 86% and farmers rely primarily on frequent insecticide applications to reduce injury. Bangladesh has developed and released four brinjal varieties producing Cry1Ac (Bt brinjal) and is the first country to do so. We report on the first replicated field trials comparing four Bt brinjal varieties to their non-Bt isolines, with and without standard insecticide spray regimes. Results of the two-year study (2016–17) indicated Bt varieties had increased fruit production and minimal BFSB fruit infestation compared with their respective non-Bt isolines. Fruit infestation for Bt varieties varied from 0–2.27% in 2016, 0% in 2017, and was not significantly affected by the spray regime in either year. In contrast, fruit infestation in non-Bt lines reached 36.70% in 2016 and 45.51% in 2017, even with weekly spraying. An economic analysis revealed that all Bt lines had higher gross returns than their non-Bt isolines. The non-sprayed non-Bt isolines resulted in negative returns in most cases. Maximum fruit yield was obtained from sprayed plots compared to non-sprayed plots, indicating that other insects such as whiteflies, thrips and mites can reduce plant vigor and subsequent fruit weight. Statistically similar densities of non-target arthropods, including beneficial arthropods, were generally observed in both Bt and non-Bt varieties. An additional trial that focused on a single Bt variety and its isoline provided similar results on infestation levels, with and without sprays, and similarly demonstrated higher gross returns and no significant effects on non-target arthropods. Together, these studies indicate that the four Bt brinjal lines are extremely effective at controlling BFSB in Bangladesh without affecting other arthropods, and provide greater economic returns than their non-Bt isolines.
Article
Full-text available
Genetically engineered (GE) crops producing insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) (mainly Cry proteins) have become a major control tactic for a number of key lepidopteran and coleopteran pests, mainly in maize, cotton, and soybean. As with any management tactic, there is concern that using GE crops might cause adverse effects on valued non-target species, including arthropod predators and parasitoids that contribute to biological control. Such potential risks are addressed prior to the commercial release of any new GE plant. Over the past 20+ years, extensive experience and insight have been gained through laboratory and field-based studies of the non-target effects of crops producing Cry proteins. Overall, the vast majority of studies demonstrates that the insecticidal proteins deployed today cause no unintended adverse effects to natural enemies. Furthermore, when Bt crops replace synthetic chemical insecticides for target pest control, this creates an environment supportive of the conservation of natural enemies. As part of an overall integrated pest management (IPM) strategy, Bt crops can contribute to more effective biological control of both target and non-target pests. The growing use of insecticidal seed treatments in major field crops (Bt or not) may dampen the positive gains realized through reductions in foliar and soil insecticides. Nonetheless, Bt technology represents a powerful tool for IPM.
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this article is to provide information on the history, accomplishments, and future direction of the Bt brinjal (eggplant) program in Bangladesh, formerly under the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II, now the South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership (SAEIP). The India-based Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) developed an eggplant expressing Cry1Ac (EE-1) for control of the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB). In a partnership among Mahyco, USAID, Sathguru Management Consultants and Cornell University EE-1 was provided to the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) who bred it into local varieties. After regulatory approval, four varieties were distributed to 20 farmers who harvested Bt brinjal in 2014. Adoption in subsequent years has increased rapidly so that, in 2018, 27,012 farmers used this technology. This article provides background information on the process leading up to current adoption levels, the level of control of EFSB achieved and the economic benefits of Bt brinjal. Efforts on stewardship, farmer training and communication are discussed. In order to ensure the long-term future of the partnership, we discuss the need to enhance involvement of the private sector in the production and stewardship of Bt eggplant. Bt brinjal is the first genetically engineered crop to be commercially released in Bangladesh, and other GE crops are in the pipeline. Hence, success of the Bt brinjal partnership is likely to affect the future of other GE crops in Bangladesh, as well as other parts of the world where biotechnology is needed for food security and environmental safety.
Article
Full-text available
p>A study was conducted in 35 districts of Bangladesh during 2016-17 winter season for assessing the farm level performance of Bt eggplant in reducing pesticide use, cultivation cost and increase farm income. Five hundred five Bt eggplant farmers were selected purposively and 350 non- Bt eggplant farmers were selected randomly for the study. Net returns per hectare were Tk. 179,602/ha for Bt eggplant as compared to Tk. 29,841/ha for non- Bt eggplant. Pesticides were applied 11 times to Bt eggplant where as it was 41 times to non- Bt eggplant for controlling sucking pests. The Bt eggplant farmers saved 61 percent of the pesticide cost compared to non- Bt eggplant farmers, experienced no losses due to fruit and shoot borer, and received higher net returns. The experience with Bt eggplant technology was good for most of the locations and up to the mark and off course this technology will be significantly improved to their socio-economic conditions in future as reported by the Bt respondents. All Bt and 86% non- Bt farmers wanted to cultivate Bt eggplant in the next year if they can obtain the seeds/seedlings from the research station. For getting higher yield and economic benefits, in the course of technology dissemination, the importance of good production practices must be emphasized. Bangladesh J. Agril. Res. 43(2): 187-203, June 2018</p
Article
Full-text available
Pesticides are widely used in agriculture mainly to increase crop yields to cater huge supply of food products for increasing world population as well as to protect crops from pests and control insect-borne diseases. Increased use of pesticides results in contamination of the environment and the excess accumulation of pesticide residues in food products, which has always been a matter of serious concern. Pesticide residues in food and crops aredirectly related to the irrational application of pesticides to the growing crops. Accumulated pesticide residues in food products have been associated with a broad variety of human health hazards, ranging from short-term effects to longterm toxic effects. The preventive measures for pesticide residues in the developing countries are limited due to a shortage of funds and lack of defined government regulations. The impact of pesticide residues can be minimized by taking certain measures such as the rational use of pesticides, promoting organic farming, exploit natural and bio pesticides, and proper implementation and amendment of pesticide-related laws. The present article has been planned to review various aspects of pesticide residues including their accumulation in food products, impact on human health, and the preventive measures to counter their toxic effects.
Book
Insect pests remain one of the main constraints to food and fiber production worldwide despite farmers deploying a range of techniques to protect their crops. Modern pest control is guided by the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) with pest resistant germplasm being an important part of the foundation. Since 1996, when the first genetically modified (GM) insect-resistant maize variety was commercialized in the USA, the area planted to insect-resistant GM varieties has grown dramatically, representing the fastest adoption rate of any agricultural technology in human history. The goal of our book is to provide an overview on the role insect-resistant GM plants play in different crop systems worldwide. We hope that the book will contribute to a more rational debate about the role GM crops can play in IPM for food and fiber production.
Article
The status of insecticide resistance in field populations of eggplant fruit and shoot borer, Leucinodes orbonalis (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) from the major vegetable growing regions of India was determined during the cropping seasons of 2009–2010 and 2010–2011. Six commonly used insecticides: carbaryl, chlorpyriphos, deltamethrin, endosulfan, fenvalerate, and profenofos were tested against L. orbonalis larvae. The resistance ratios (RR) at the lethal dosage (LD) 50 levels were estimated as RR=LD 50 field strain/LD 50 susceptible strain. The L. orbonalis populations exhibited widespread resistance to tested insecticides. The highest average RR in the two-year study was observed in the assays of populations with deltamethrin (21.50–82.42-fold) followed by assays conducted with endosulfan (24.47–68.26-fold), chlorpyriphos (22.17–63.14-fold), carbaryl (39.18–49.09-fold), and fenvalerate (14.00–44.66-fold); and the lowest average RRs were observed in the assays with profenofos (16.65–39.43-fold). The high levels of LD 50 values can be attributed to the long-term indiscriminate use of these insecticides in eggplant ( Solanum melongena Linnaeus; Solanaceae) growing regions.