Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II
Supporting agricultural development through biotechnology
Eggplant - Bangladesh
Fruit and Shoot Borer Resistant (FSBR)/Bt Eggplant
Eggplant is one of the most nutritious and culturally important vegetables commonly consumed in South and South East Asia. Unfortunately, the production of marketable eggplant is compromised due to infestation of the insect commonly known as the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (Leucinodes orbonalis). To control this insect pest, farmers in Asia spray hazardous pesticides as often as every other day.
The introduction of the Cry1Ac gene from the naturally occurring bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis) has the potential to render eggplants resistant to these insects and reduce pesticide use. Use of the Cry1Ac gene in other crops such as maize and cotton has had considerable success in controlling related pests. The Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) has developed an eggplant bioengineered to express Cry1Ac. Mahyco has donated this technology to public sector partners in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines in an arrangement facilitated by ABSPII. Mahyco has developed transgenic eggplant hybrids for commercial release and the ABSPII public sector partners have developed transgenic eggplant in varieties that are preferred by small-scale farmers. ABSPII’s public sector partners are Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), the University of Agricultural Sciences at Dharwad (UASD), the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and the University of the Philippines, Los Baños (UPLB). This public-private partnership will make affordable seed available to resource-poor farmers, help reduce the need for excessive pesticide use and dramatically increase eggplant crop yield.
ABSPII’s role is to support the partner institutions through the development, regulatory and commercialization process. ABSPII supports capacity building efforts in partner institutions for the public sector to engage in sustainable product development and validation efforts to meet the food security needs of the region.
Eggplants genetically engineered to express the Cry1Ac gene are being developed to control the eggplant fruit and shoot borer. Cry1Ac is a gene from the naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, and produces an insecticidal protein that protects plants from some caterpillars, including the eggplant fruit and shoot borer.
Resource-limited farmers stand to benefit economically from:
- High quality eggplant seeds available from public-sector sources at affordable prices
- Reduced production losses from the eggplant fruit and shoot borer
- Increase in clean, marketable fruit
- Reduced production costs due to less frequent use of pesticide sprays
Bangladesh, India, Philippines
Country Specific Data for Eggplant in Bangladesh
Economic Importance: An estimated 8 million farmers grow eggplant in almost all the areas of Bangladesh. Yield loss due to damage by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer is estimated at 54% to 70%. Small, resource poor farmers, who cannot afford to spray insecticides, are the most severely affected. Since all the varieties grown in Bangladesh are susceptible to this pest, the availability of FSBR eggplant will benefit all of the 8 million farmers who grow the crop.
Current Status: The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute has concluded multi-location field trials for nine varieties at seven different locations as prescribed by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Agriculture. BARI is in the process of submitting the field trial data and biosafety dossier to the regulatory authority to request product deregulation.
Partners within the Country
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