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Monitoring Genetically Modified Organisms in Food and Feed by Innovative Biosensor Approaches

Final Report Summary - GMOSENSOR (Monitoring Genetically Modified Organisms in Food and Feed by Innovative Biosensor Approaches)

Most of transgenic plants are derived from crops of worldwide critical importance to food and feed producers: soybean, maize, oilseed, rape, rice, sugar beet, cotton. Although the advantages presented by the genetically modified organisms (GMO), such as herbicide tolerance or resistance to insects, their cultivation has raised numerous concerns in the European Union (EU) and other parts of the world about food safety, environmental and economic impact. Despite the controversies surrounding GMO, their production is increasing mainly in the American countries, reaching a global area of 160 Mha in 2011. Considering the poor acceptance by consumers of food products derived from GM crops, food labelling legislation and regulations are in force in EU and other countries such as Brazil. Analytical methods are thus required for reliable and accurate detection and quantification of GMO, not only to verify the compliance with legislation, but also to assess their prevalence in food and feed.
The proposal is aimed at providing an easy, rapid and low-cost solution to the need for a suitable analytical methodology for the unambiguous identification and quantification of GMO in food and feed. For this purpose, the exchange of knowledge for the design of genosensors is proposed. Several assay formats will be evaluated; direct and sandwich assays. The detection of transgenic events will be carried out by electrochemical means and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPR). To achieve the demanding levels of detectability, amplification strategies using enzymes and gold nanoparticles are proposed. The resulting methods will be validated by comparison with conventional DNA-based methods and they will be applied to assess and monitor the presence of GM events in food and feed commercialised in European and American countries.