Direct defense elicited by Tetranychus urticae koch (Acari: Tetranychidae) in Bt maize plants
Direct and indirect induced defense mechanisms against herbivores can be manifested in maize (Zea mays L.) plants. Furthermore, there are constitutive defenses in which plants continuously express resistance traces. In recent decades has increased the production of transgenic maize plants that constitutively express proteins with insecticide action (Bt maize). The increase of the use of transgenic maize cultivars with the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) gene demand studies that evaluate the impacts caused by this technology on plant defense mechanisms and their impact on non-targeted organisms, as the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae). We tested the hypothesis that Bt maize plants (expressing Cry1F protein) would be capable of inducing direct defenses to T. urticae after being attacked by these mites. Thus, we used plants of a commercial maize hybrid (30F35 Hx - expressing Cry1F protein) and plants of its respective non-Bt isogenic line (control). We compared the survival and reproductive performances of T. urticae on plants of both lines that were previously infested with conspecifics and on plants that did not suffer pre-infestations. The previous infestation of maize plants by T. urticae did not impacted the survival and reproductive abilities of adult and immature forms of the conspecific in both genotypes. These results suggest that, Bt maize expressing the Cry1F insecticidal protein, does not interfere in the induction of direct defense by the T. urticae when compared with conventional maize plants.