Biotech Updates

Scientists Track the Fate of Cry1Ab protein in Agricultural Chain

June 3, 2011

Since the use of Bt technology, safety concerns have been raised about its transfer in different parts of agricultural systems, though extensive environmental risk assessment was carried out prior to the approval of Bt crops. Thus, Helga Gruber of the Bacarian State Research Center fro Agriculture, Germany, and other scientists tracked the fate of recombinant Cry1Ab protein in a liquid manure field trial when feeding GM maize (MON810) to lactating cows. To quantify the protein, a validated ELISA was used in the agricultural chain starting from GM maize plants, feed, liquid manure and soil to crops sown on soils containing manure.

The scientists observed an abrupt decrease in the amount of the protein from the GM maize plant to the feed and liquid manure. About half of the residual Cry1Ab remained during storage for 25 weeks. After application to the fields, final degradation of the protein occurred and reported to reach below detectable amounts. It was also notable that Cry1Ab exhibited faster degradation compared to total protein in the agricultural processes.

Subscribers of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry can access the research article at