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Protocols currently used for estimating the amount of toxin present in formulations of Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (BTI) rely on data from acute toxicity bioassays. While the standard protocol proposed for use in the United States is similar to that used elsewhere, they do conflict in certain respects; a major deficiency of both is that some methods in each have not been described in sufficient detail. These problems can be resolved through the ASTM process. An assessment of the present status of methods for estimating toxin content of BTI formulations is provided as a preliminary step in developing a new standard. Emphasis is placed on (1) defining terms used in describing procedures and interpreting results; (2) reviewing some of the physical, biochemical, and biological characteristics of the bacterium and the toxin it produces, which are important in influencing results observed in toxicity bioassays; (3) outlining the limitations of a bioassay method for estimating the amount of toxin in formulations; and (4) outlining research needs for the development of a standard that eliminates the deficiencies of present protocols.
Bacillus thuringiensis, var. , israelensis, (BTI), mosquito larvicide, formulating, potency
Entomologist, U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency, Pest Management and Pesticide Monitoring Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD