Canadian Forest Service Publications

Comparative effects of a genetically engineered insect virus and a growth-regulating insecticide on microbial communities in aquatic microcosms. 2001. Kreutzweiser, D.P.; England, L.S.; Shepherd, J.A.; Conklin, J.; Holmes, S.B. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 48: 85-98.

Year: 2001

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 18617

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


The effects of a genetically engineered insect baculovirus on indigneous aquatic microbial communities were determined in closed, recirculating aquatic microcosms, and compared with the effects of a natural strain of the virus and of a growth-regulating insecticide, Dimilin. The recombinant virus was a nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) of the spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Cf)) with a lacZ marker gene inserted into the egt region of the CfNPV. The natural virus was Ireland strain CfNPV. Microbial measurement endpoints included decomposition activity (mass loss of organic material), respiration on two different substrates (O2 consumption), heterotrophic bacterial abundance (plate counts), and microbial community metabolic profiles (carbon source utilization patterns in Biolog GN microplates). Viral DNA of both the natural strain and the recombinant viruses, detected by polymerase chain reaction techniques, settled out of the microcosm water and accumulated on bottom substrates within 3 days of the microcosm inoculations. The viral DNA persisted in bottom substrates for the duration of the 21-day experimental period, although there was some evidence that the recombinant virus was less stable than the natural strain in particulate organic matter. No significant changes in microbial decomposition or respiration activity, bacterial abundance, or average metabolic responses were detected by a time trend analysis in microcosms inoculated with either the lacZ recombinant virus or the natural Ireland strain CfNPV. Significant effects on microbial decomposition and respiration activity were detected in microcosms treated with the growth-regulating insecticide at, and above, the expected environmental concentrations. Despite significant effects on microbial community functional attributes in Dimilin-treated microcosms, there were no detectable changes in community structure in terms of metabolic profiles or bacterial abundance.