Easy tracking of GM content

Friday, 29 June, 2012

With debate about the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops, it is important for food processors to be able to monitor GM levels in food products. New research has shown it is possible to recognise GM contamination as low as 0.1% in maize using bioluminescent real-time reporter (BART) technology and loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).

Researchers from Lumora Ltd published their research in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Biotechnology, concluding that “LAMP-BART is an effective and sensitive technique for GM detection with significant potential for quantification even at low levels of contamination and in samples derived from crops such as maize with a large genome size.”

The most common technique for measuring the GM content of a crop is real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which requires temperature cycling and fairly complex optics.

Dr Guy Kiddle, who led the research team, said, “This method requires only basic equipment for DNA extraction and a constant temperature for DNA amplification and detection. Consequently, LAMP-BART provides a ‘field-ready’ solution for monitoring GM crops and their interaction with wild plants or non-GM crops.”

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