Consumption of snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin) causes direct effects on adult parasitic wasps

J. Romeis, D. Babendreier, F.L. Wackers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Honeydew is a common sugar-rich excretion of aphids and other phloem-feeding insects and represents the primary sugar in many agricultural systems. When honeydew-producing insects feed on genetically modified plants, the honeydew can contain amounts of the transgene product. Here we address whether this route of exposure poses a risk for non-target insects. Three species of parasitic wasps were selected: i.e. Aphidius colemani, Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata, all of which are known to use honeydew as a carbohydrate source in the field. Wasps were fed sucrose solutions with varying concentrations of snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin, GNA), a protein that has been engineered into crops to confer resistance against homopteran pests and that has been detected in honeydew. Parameters evaluated included gustatory response, longevity, fecundity, progeny emergence and sex ratio. While A. colemani and T. brassicae, but not C. glomerata, were able to detect GNA, this gustatory recognition had no effect on the acceptance of a GNA-sucrose solution. In all three species, GNA ingestion reduced parasitoid survival significantly. However, in respect to fecundity, negative effects were observed for T. brassicae but not for A. colemani. The results suggest that the effect of GNA consumption may depend on the specifics of a parasitoid's biology, especially its longevity and its mode of egg maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-536
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • rice brown planthopper
  • eulophus-pennicornis hymenoptera
  • lacanobia-oleracea lepidoptera
  • transgenic tobacco plants
  • aphid myzus-persicae
  • nilaparvata-lugens
  • honeydew sugars
  • trichogramma-platneri
  • enhanced resistance
  • cotesia-glomerata


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