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Roundup in genetically modified plants: Regulation and toxicity in mammals

Mardi 1 Juin 2010

Breckling, B. & Verhoeven, R. (2010) Implications of GM-Crop Cultivation at Large Spatial Scales.
Theorie in der Ökologie 16. Frankfurt, Peter Lang.

Roundup in genetically modified plants: Regulation and toxicity in mammals

Robin Mesnage, Emilie Clair & Gilles-Eric Séralini
(University of Caen, Institute of Biology, CRIIGEN and Risk Pole CNRS, Caen Cedex France.)

Among the 134 million hectares of genetically modified plants growing worldwide in 2009, more than 99.9 % are described as pesticide plants (Clive 2009). Around 80 % are tolerant to Roundup, a glyphosate based herbicide. Its use on GMOs is thus amplified, and this phenomenon shed a new light on the problem of herbicide residues in plants. This is because these GM plants have been modified so that they can contain high levels of Roundup. They are modified to behave normally after several treatments with this herbicide, which were not allowed at such levels on regular plants before. The latest generation, like Smartstax crops, even cumulate a tolerance up to 2 herbicides and a production of 6 insecticides. By this widespread use and the known potential hazards of pesticides, their residues are a major concern for health and the environment. Moreover the new metabolism that they could trigger in GMOs remains to be studied. A debate on international standards is ongoing on their capacity to predict and avoid adverse effects of the herbicide residues at environmental or nutritional exposures, particularly in GMOs.

As far as Roundup is concerned, the formulations of which are mixtures of only one proposed active ingredient (glyphosate) with various adjuvants, up to 400 ppm of residues are authorized in some Genetically Modified food and feed (EPA 2008). It is also recognized by regulatory agencies that these residues are found in meat and products generated from livestock fed with glyphosate tolerant soya or maize (EFSA 2009).


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