History of Bt
What is Bt
how does Bt work
Bt Animal safety
What is a Bt crystal
Genetically Modified Organisms
Bt Transgenic Crop
Bt cotton
Bt crop refuge
Synthetic Pesticide
Organic farming
Bt vector control
Pest resistance

How does Bt work?

Bt has to be eaten to cause mortality. The Bt toxin dissolve in the high pH insect gut and become active. The toxins then attack the gut cells of the insect, punching holes in the lining. The Bt spores spills out of the gut and germinate in the insect causing death within a couple days.

Control cotton bollworm Cotton bollworm

Even though the toxin does not kill the insect immediately, treated plant parts will not be damaged because the insect stops feeding within hours. Bt spores do not spread to other insects or cause disease outbreaks on their own.

1. Insect eats Bt crystals and spores.


2. The toxin binds to specific receptors in the gut and the insects stops eating.

3. The crystals cause the gut wall to break down, allowing spores and normal gut bacteria to enter the body.

4. The insect dies as spores and gut bacteria proliferate in the body.

Bt action

Bt action is very specific. Different strains of Bt are specific to different receptors in insect gut wall. Bt toxicity depends on recognizing receptors, damage to the gut by the toxin occurs upon binding to a receptor. Each insect species possesses different types of receptors that will match only certain toxin proteins, like a lock to a key.

It is because of this that farmers have to be careful to match the target pest species with a particular Bt toxin protein which is specific for that insect. This also helps the benifical insects because they will usually not be harmed by that particular strain of Bt.