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Insights on GMO content in Ukrainian corn 2019 crop

27 January 20203 min reading

In the fields of the surveyed regions, genetically modified corn crop was not observed, however, with the following reservation: not all fields in Ukraine were examined and only randomly selected samples have been tested. Thus, the conclusion is based on the lack of a result confirming wide presence of genetically modified corn.

Arina KORCHMARYOVA Vice President CBBS Business Group Cotecna Inspection S.A.

This season GMO positive Corn is the matter that raises questions.

Beginning of August Cotecna performed research on a Phytosanitary condition of Ukrainian corn of 2019 year crop, including GMO testing in 17 regions of Ukraine.

In the fields of the surveyed regions, genetically modified corn crop was not observed, however, with the following reservation: not all fields in Ukraine were examined and only randomly selected samples have been tested. Thus, the conclusion is based on the lack of a result confirming wide presence of genetically modified corn.

According to available statistics, most of the batches of corn tested are either non-GMO or contained GM impurity in amount less than limit of quantification (LOQ < 0.1%).

However, it is worth to note that one sample tested contain NK603 in the amount exceeding EU limit of 0.9% for authorized events.

Also, MON810, MON863, 59122, TC1507 and GA21 can be present although in minor quantities.

One of the presumable causes of such situation could be strain testing of GM-corn varieties on the fields with Non-GM Corn. Another cause could be the sowing of GM seeds in the breached sections of the fields (where the plants did not grow), to compensate crop losses.

Please see below Cotecna laboratory statistics for the samples of Corn of 2019 crop for various locations and for vessels composites.

Taking into consideration the statistics in Table-1 and Table-2 is worth mentioning that for vessel`s composites, even though GMO positive results were noted on some parcels, the content of GMO was <LOQ 0.1% on these.

According to information from Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, within the framework of studies to control the spread of transgenic plants, one hundred of the most used maize breeding lines was monitored in the Dnipropetrovsk region for the presence of spontaneously recorded 16 transformational cases registered in the European Union. As a result, among the analyzed breeding lines twenty transformation events with ID Bt176 were found. The analysis of 100 samples of maize from the Kiev retail network revealed two cases of event MON 810. In 100 samples from Cherkasy region three cases of GA21 (2011) transformation events were revealed (https://www.ujecology.com/articles/assessment-of-biological-safety-a-social-and-legal-aspect.pdf).

Table-3 shows the main characteristics of the risk GM-events for Ukraine.

Taking into consideration that many destinations (Europe, China, Turkey and others) strictly regulate the presence and/or quantity of GM-lines as well as if they are approved or not, express-testing for GMO during formation of exported parcels (intakes/outtakes at inland elevators or port silos) as well as per lot testing during loading of vessels takes on particular importance. This additional measure of control may prevent in advance the contamination of the whole vessel`s parcel.

Please see Table-4 regarding two types of strip-tests that can be used during such preliminary control:

In regards to PCR identification of GM-lines in Corn, the following scheme of testing is applied in Cotecna Ukraine laboratory:

• The following GM constructs/targets are tested during PCR qualitative analysis (screening for presence/absence of GMO): P-35S; T-NOS; P-FMV; PAT gene; BAR gene; EPSPS; NPTII.

• In case of positive result during screening, the PCR identification/ quantification of the following GM-lines of Corn:

List of GM-lines authorized by European Commission to be placed on the market (data as of 10.12.2019):

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