ISU Scientists Report More Benefits of Bt Corn to Farmers
Iowa State University (ISU) Seed Science Center (SSC) reported that farmers who plant Bt corn do not encounter the same concerns with insects and mold like those who plant non-Bt corn. They also discovered more benefits of Bt technology in post-harvest corn storage.
Bt corn are insect-protected crops developed through biotechnology. Aside from their resistance to field pests like European corn borer and corn rootworm, researchers have proven that Bt corn was resistant in storage to Indianmeal moth. They also discovered that it is resistant to maize weevil. Furthermore, their study found that Bt corn was 100 percent effective against insects in the stored grain.
“Previously it’s been shown that in the field, Bt insect resistance also helps protect against fungal infection and mycotoxins,” said Gary Munkvold, ISU SSC Professor and one of the researchers of the study. “There have been some studies on Bt resistance to storage insects but not with the added element of the storage molds. Also, those studies only included moth larvae. Showing resistance to weevils is new,” Prof. Munkvold added.
Almost all corn planted in the US is Bt seed, but many developing countries still do not have access to these kinds of seeds and thus they are inclined to use insecticides to protect their crops from pest attacks. This problem further leads to more concerns about stored grains due to climate and the lack of climate-controlled storage equipment.
For over two decades of assessments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other numerous scientific bodies have consistently found that Bacillus thuringiensis and Bt crops do not pose a risk to humans.