Investigations on genetically modified maize (Bt-maize) in pig nutrition: chemical composition and nutritional evaluation

Arch Tierernahr. 2002 Feb;56(1):23-31. doi: 10.1080/00039420214179.


The objective of the present study was to determine the composition and the nutritional value of parental and transgenic maize seeds fed to pigs. The parental maize line was genetically modified to incorporate a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) expressing a toxin against the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis). Both (parental and transgenic) maize lines were analyzed for crude nutrients, starch, sugar, non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), amino acids, fatty acids, as well as for selected minerals. Furthermore, four complete diets were mixed and were analyzed for the same nutrients and some selected ingredients. The diets contained 70% maize to attain a high effect level. To evaluate the feeding value of one variety of genetically modified maize (transgenic) compared to the feeding value of the unmodified maize (parental) line, a balance study with twelve pigs was designed. Three collecting periods were used for each maize line each with six animals. The collected faeces were analyzed for crude nutrients. All measured parameters were virtually the same (e.g. crude protein 11.59% vs. 11.06% in DM), especially the digestibility of crude protein (85.8 +/- 2.3% vs. 86.1 +/- 1.8%), the amount of nitrogen-free-extract (92.8 +/- 0.6% vs. 93.2 +/- 0.6%) and the metabolizable energy (15.7 +/- 0.2% vs. 15.8 +/- 0.2% MJ/kg DM) for both maize lines. Compared to the parental line, the chemical composition and digestibility of crude nutrients and energy content were not significantly affected by the genetic modification of maize. Therefore, from the view of a nutritional assessment, the genetically modified maize can be regarded as substantially equivalent to the parental maize line.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Digestion
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Male
  • Nitrogen / administration & dosage
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Nutritive Value
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / chemistry*
  • Random Allocation
  • Swine / growth & development
  • Swine / metabolism*
  • Zea mays / chemistry*
  • Zea mays / genetics


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Nitrogen