GMOs in the Philippines: Field trials confirm Bt eggplant highly resistant to pest attack

Credit: Amphawan Chanunpha/iStock
Credit: Amphawan Chanunpha/iStock

[Eggplant fruit and shoot borers are] responsible for the yield loss of up to 80% of eggplant farming in the Philippines. Thus, several Filipino farmers employ frequent application of mixtures of chemical pesticides to control EFSB. This method resulted in an increase in production costs and constituted risks to health of the farmers and consumers.

A field study conducted by researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños led by Dr. Desiree Hautea, professor of genetics and crop biotechnology, produced the first publicly available data on the field performance of Bt eggplant in Asia. The results showed that Bt eggplant demonstrated high levels of control against EFSB compared to non-Bt eggplant varieties over the span of three cropping seasons in the Philippines from 2010-2012.

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The study evaluated the value of Bt protein found in Bt eggplant in controlling the target pest, EFSB. Bt eggplant displayed a success rate of 98.6-99.3% in preventing shoot damage, 98.1%-99.7% in preventing fruit damage, and 95.8–99.3% in reducing larval infestations under the most extreme pest pressure.

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The results of the study was the first report to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal in Asia. The data served as a benchmark in choosing which variety of Bt eggplant will be used for commercialization.

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