Resistance of Bt-maize (MON810) against the stem borers Busseola fusca (Fuller) and Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) and its yield performance in Kenya
A study was conducted to assess the performance of maize hybrids with Bt event MON810 (Bt-hybrids) against the maize stem borer Busseola fusca (Fuller) in a biosafety greenhouse (BGH) and against the spotted stem borer Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) under confined field trials (CFT) in Kenya for three seasons during 2013e2014. The study comprised 14 non-commercialized hybrids (seven pairs of near-isogenic Bt and non-Bt hybrids) and four non-Bt commercial hybrids. Each plant was artificially infested twice with 10 first instar larvae. In CFT, plants were infested with C. partellus 14 and 24 days after planting; in BGH, plants were infested with B. fusca 21 and 31 days after planting. In CFT, the seven Bt hybrids significantly differed from their non-Bt counterparts for leaf damage, number of exit holes, percent tunnel length, and grain yield. When averaged over three seasons, Bt-hybrids gave the highest grain yield (9.7 t ha1), followed by non-Bt hybrids (6.9 t ha1) and commercial checks (6 t ha1). Bt-hybrids had the least number of exit holes and percent tunnel length in all the seasons as compared to the non-Bt hybrids and commercial checks. In BGH trials, Bt-hybrids consistently suffered less leaf damage than their non-Bt near isolines. The study demonstrated that MON810 was effective in controlling B. fusca and
C. partellus. Bt-maize, therefore, has great potential to reduce the risk of maize grain losses in Africa due to stem borers, and will enable the smallholder farmers to produce high-quality grain with increased
yield, reduced insecticide inputs, and improved food security.