Availability and Utility of Crop Composition Data

Kitta K

Task Force #12

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2013;61(35):8304-8311

Abstract: The safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops is mandatory in many countries. Although the most important factor to take into account in these safety assessments is the primary effects of artificially introduced transgene-derived traits, possible unintended effects attributed to the insertion of transgenes must be carefully examined in parallel. However, foods are complex mixtures of compounds characterized by wide variations in composition and nutritional values. Food components are significantly affected by various factors such as cultivars and the cultivation environment including storage conditions after harvest, and it can thus be very difficult to detect potential adverse effects caused by the introduction of a transgene. A comparative approach focusing on the identification of differences between GM foods and their conventional counterparts has been performed to reveal potential safety issues and is considered the most appropriate strategy for the safety assessment of GM foods. This concept is widely shared by authorities in many countries. For the efficient safety assessment of GM crops, an easily accessible and wide-ranging compilation of crop composition data is required for use by researchers and regulatory agencies. Thus, we developed an Internet-accessible food composition database comprising key nutrients, antinutrients, endogenous toxicants, and physiologically active substances of staple crops such as rice and soybeans. The International Life Sciences Institute has also been addressing the same matter and has provided the public a crop composition database of soybeans, maize, and cotton.

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