New meta-analysis finds Bt crops have no impact on soil biota

A new meta-analysis finds that genetically modified Bt crops—in stark contrast to some pesticides — have no impact on soil invertebrates.

The new research provides further weight to the argument that Bt crops, which control pests in a very targeted way using insecticidal proteins (Bt) expressed in plant tissues, protect biodiversity by helping farmers reduce their use of broad-spectrum insecticide sprays.

The study is the first systematic review of the effects of genetically modified (GM) crops on soil invertebrates and the first to include a quantitative meta-analysis.



The biomass of soil invertebrates is usually less than 10% of the total biomass of soil organisms, but it is rich in species, with various feeding behaviors and life history strategies. There are complex interactions among soil animals and between soil animals and microorganisms. The ecological function of soil animals is mainly realized by feeding effect and non-feeding effect. The diversity of soil animals in different habitats decreased with the increase of soil depth.

Teng Ma made a study on the diversity and ecological function of soil animals which was published in the journal of Probe - Animal Science.

The author thought that there are various direct or indirect relationships among different soil animals, and most studies on soil animals only focus on a certain group, which not only underestimates the role of predator diversity in ecosystem, but also ignores the regulatory role of competition or cooperation among predators in ecosystem structure and function. Therefore, it is very important to analyze the influence of soil animals on soil ecological processes and related aboveground plants at the level of food web. The task faced by soil ecologists is to integrate the new knowledge of research in recent 20 years into the new ecological framework of biodiversity and function research with new methods, so as to serve the cognitive nature and the sustainable development of human society.

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