Various subspecies (ssp.) of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are considered the best agents known so far to control insects, being highly specific and safe, easily mass produced and with long shelf life.1 The para-cryst lline body that is produced during sporulation I the exosporium includes polypeptides named δ-endotoxins, each killing a specific set of insects. The different entomopathogenic toxins of various Bt ssp. can be manipulated genetically in an educated way to construct more efficient transgenic bacteria or plants that express combinations of toxin genes to control pests.2 Joint research projects in our respective laboratories during the last decade demonstrate what can be done by implementing certain ideas using molecular biology with Bt ssp. israelensis (Bti) as a model system. Here, we describe our progress achieved with Gram-negative bacterial species, including cyanobacteria, and some preliminary experiments to form transgenic plants, mainly to control mosquitoes (Diptera), but also a particular Lepidopteran and Coleopteran pest species. In addition, a system is described by which environment-damaging genes can be removed from the recombinants thus alleviating procedures for obtaining permits to release them in nature.
- Bacillus thuringiensis
- Control of insect pest larvae
- Environmental considerations
- Recombinant organisms