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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 8;56(19):9206-14. doi: 10.1021/jf8010992. Epub 2008 Sep 10.

Assessment of the nutritional values of genetically modified wheat, corn, and tomato crops.

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Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione, 00178 Roma, Italy.


The genetic modification in fruit and vegetables could lead to changes in metabolic pathways and, therefore, to the variation of the molecular pattern, with particular attention to antioxidant compounds not well-described in the literature. The aim of the present study was to compare the quality composition of transgenic wheat ( Triticum durum L.), corn ( Zea mays L.), and tomato ( Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) to the nontransgenic control with a similar genetic background. In the first experiment, Ofanto wheat cultivar containing the tobacco rab1 gene and nontransgenic Ofanto were used. The second experiment compared two transgenic lines of corn containing Bacillus thuringiensis "Cry toxin" gene (PR33P67 and Pegaso Bt) to their nontransgenic forms. The third experiment was conducted on transgenic tomato ( Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) containing the Agrobacterium rhizogenes rolD gene and its nontransgenic control (cv. Tondino). Conventional and genetically modified crops were compared in terms of fatty acids content, unsaponifiable fraction of antioxidants, total phenols, polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamin C, total antioxidant activity, and mineral composition. No significant differences were observed for qualitative traits analyzed in wheat and corn samples. In tomato samples, the total antioxidant activity (TAA), measured by FRAP assay, and the naringenin content showed a lower value in genetically modified organism (GMO) samples (0.35 mmol of Fe (2+) 100 g (-1) and 2.82 mg 100 g (-1), respectively), in comparison to its nontransgenic control (0.41 mmol of Fe (2+) 100 g (-1) and 4.17 mg 100 g (-1), respectively). On the basis of the principle of substantial equivalence, as articulated by the World Health Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, these data support the conclusion that GM events are nutritionally similar to conventional varieties of wheat, corn, and tomato on the market today.

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